Is Malcolm Butler headed out of New England? It would seem hard to believe that one of the best defensive backs in the game today would want to part ways with the team that is the best in the league right now, however, that is looking more and more like the case. So why is Malcolm Butler, a rising star in the NFL and the hero of Super Bowl 49, so eager to leave New England? Money of course, and in many ways, you can’t blame him. Here’s why.
Agent for Pats RFA CB Malcolm Butler is contacting teams trying to find one to part w/1st rnd pick to sign him (which is his RFA tender)...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 13, 2017
While Butler was climbing his way up the ranks, hoping to score a nice long-term contract with New England, the Patriots shocked most of the NFL world by signing Buffalo Bills free-agent Stephon Gilmore to a long term deal. While it only has been 48 hours or so since the Patriots signed Gilmore, reports of Butler wanting out of New England are getting louder by the hour.
NBC Sports indicates that New England inked Gilmore to a deal worth $65 million over five years, an average of $13 million annually. With Gilmore and Butler playing on the same team, it would be easy to say that the Patriots would have one of the best defensive backfields in the NFL. However, that doesn’t seem likely to happen at the moment.
While the Patriots hope to keep Butler, could trading him benefit them even more?
CSNNE reports that the Patriots tendered Butler, a restricted free agent, at the highest level prior to the start of the new league year. What that basically means is if Malcolm Butler signs the tender with New England — which he has yet to do — and plays for the Patriots, he’ll make $3.91 million next year.
However, Butler can go shopping for a new potential team, but if he should find a new squad interested in signing him, they will have to pony up their first-round draft pick in return for Butler. It may be a high price to pay for many teams, but a player of Butler’s caliber rarely hits the restricted free agent market. For many clubs that believe they’re one Pro Bowl-level corner away from competing for a Super Bowl title, this deal actually makes great sense.
So who could be interested in signing the star DB? How about the Detroit Lions?
After hiring former Patriots executive Bob Quinn to take over as the new GM in Detroit, Quinn has done a nice job so far in trying to build up the offensive and defensive lines. So far this offseason, Detroit has signed a few big named players on both sides of the ball, including right guard T.J. Lang, right tackle Rick Wagner, and wideout/kick returner Keshawn Martin. Martin is a former Michigan State Spartan who had a brief stop in New England as well.
Trading your first-round pick for Malcolm Butler would make sense for the Lions. Butler already has a proven track record, and we all know that many first-round picks don’t pan out as planned. He would definitely solidify the Lions defense against the pass and add to an already young and developing secondary.
The way things are going in this case, it looks like Butler may be headed to another team soon. With Quinn’s experience and ties with New England, could he be eyeing one of his former players who isn’t happy heading into the NFL Draft?
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