The New England Patriots are the best team in the NFL, and they have already had an incredible off-season. However, are they are about to lose two of their top players in Malcolm Butler and Dont’a Hightower?
The official NFL website indicates that the New England Patriots star cornerback will visit the New Orleans Saints camp on Thursday, according to New Orleans coach Sean Payton. The Pats placed a first-round tender on Butler, which would pay Butler $3.91 million in 2017, however, New England can also match any offer sheet given to Malcolm if they choose to do so.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2017
If New Orleans strikes a deal with the 27-year-old cover man and undisputed hero of Super Bowl 49, and the New England Patriots choose not match, the Saints would be forced to give up a first-round pick, which just so happens to be the No. 11 pick overall. It would be a steep price to pay Butler big money and give up a high draft choice, but this situation could actually be a win-win for both teams.
If the Saints believe Malcolm Butler is a key piece they need on defense, then why not make the deal? While a lot of first-round draft picks turn out to be great players, history has shown us over the last decade that the first round produces just as many players who get a shot in the NFL as the second and third rounds.
The Saints would get a young, yet already proven, DB for their first round pick.
It is also possible that the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots could also work out a separate trade for Malcolm Butler. It wouldn’t be much different in reality, except for a signature. Butler could sign his restricted free agent tender first, then officially the Saints would make the deal and give Butler a long term contract.
Is Dont’a Hightower right behind the revolving door in New England?
With Butler seeming to have one foot out of the door, linebacker Dont’a Hightower is reportedly meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers this afternoon, and things seem to be going in a positive direction early on.
24/7 Sports is reporting that the possibility of Dont’a Hightower becoming a member of the Black and Gold is picking up momentum. According to the NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, “positive vibes” are coming out of the Steelers’ camp as they chase Hightower’s signature. The former New England Patriots linebacker went through a lot of trouble to make sure this meeting took place, so Hightower must have a lot of interest in the Steelers.
Hightower had a planned meeting set up for Tuesday with the Pittsburgh Steelers, however, with the weather being so bad on the east coast, there was a strong possibility of the meeting having to be rescheduled. The free agent linebacker beat the winter snowstorm that is currently taking over the entire northeast portion of the United States.
With some areas of the country in the northeast are preparing for anywhere from six to 24 inches of snow, somehow the Steelers and Hightower still managed to meet. Could that be fate in the works? Time will tell.
Malcolm Butler and Dont’a Hightower both made key plays in Super Bowl history for the New England Patriots. Butler with his famous goal line interception and Hightower had a key sack of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan that caused a fumble and led to a key touchdown during New England’s incredible comeback in Super Bowl 51 earlier this year.
[Featured Image by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]