The New Orleans Saints are going to be hosting restricted free agent Malcolm Butler on Thursday, which is a fascinating development.
— Brett Martel (@brettmartel) March 14, 2017
A player who was once thought to be potentially part of a trade that involved Brandin Cooks, Butler was retained by New England even as it did end up landing the talented receiver.
There are two scenarios that could occur if the Saints do land Butler this year.
They could spend the first-round pick (No. 11) it takes to counter the first-round tender New England placed on the cornerback. Or, the Saints could work out a contract with Butler and his representatives on the side and make a straight-up trade for him.
That said, it really doesn’t make sense for the Patriots to take anything less than that tendered first-round pick, which is very valuable in any draft but perhaps more so in one as loaded with talent as this one coming up this April. The only reason New England might be willing to make a different trade is if it lands another player of value along with a draft pick.
Butler is reportedly not happy with how things have gone down the past year or so.
He tried to work out a long-term contract with the Patriots but wasn’t offered nearly as much as he believes he is worth. On top of that, Stephon Gilmore landed a huge deal worth $13 million per year, after the Patriots reportedly told Butler they’d never pay any cornerback more than $10 million per year during contract negotiations (more on all that here).
Given the way New England operates, Butler shouldn’t expect a big payday this year or next. And the fact that he’s going to be visiting New Orleans shows he understands this. It also shows just how serious he is about getting out of his current situation.