New England Patriots Insider Predicts Butler Will Remain In New England
New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler continues to have trade talk surround him as he meets with opposing teams.
Butler is clearly not happy playing for $3.91 million as a restricted free agent on a first-round tender, especially after the team signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year deal worth a reported $65 million.
Butler visited with the Saints on Thursday where the two sides reportedly started talking about a long-term deal. For the Saints to acquire him, they would need to present Butler with a deal the Patriots would not match, and then give up their No. 11 overall pick, or the two teams could work out a trade.
While the trend is leaning towards Butler playing 2017 with the Saints, Michael Lombardi, a former Patriots executive and current The Ringer staffer, believes he will return to the Patriots and play for his $3.91 first-round tender.
“I think Malcolm Butler signs his tender, goes to New England, and puts the onus on New England,” Lombardi said on The Ringer’s football podcast Thursday. “‘Play great, I’ll make a huge deal next year. I’ll be 28 in March. I’ll make a huge deal out on the open market.’ New England’s not going to franchise him.”
Lombardi doesn’t think he’s a fit for the Saints at this time.
“Why pay Malcolm Butler $13 million or $14 million a year, sign him to a long-term deal, and then have to turn around a draft pick, when you are basically buying a 27-year-old player?” Lombardi said. “You’d be better off drafting a young corner and hopefully developing him.”
Lombardi added: “I don’t understand why they would pay as much as they’re going to have to pay to get Malcolm Butler financially, and then reward the [Patriots] with a draft pick. I think they’re better off looking in the draft.”
Lombardi’s comment regarding the Saints paying Butler top dollar makes complete sense financially, sure Butler is an elite cornerback, but why pay him $10+ million and give up a draft pick for a player when they could just turn around and use that draft pick to find a young corner.