With the 2017 NFL Draft less than a week away, time is running out for teams to take advantage of their assets in the annual event and make trades for veteran players.
That list surely includes a New Orleans Saints team that has been linked to New England Patriots Pro Bowl cornerback Malcolm Butler. New Orleans met with the then restricted free agent earlier in the month, at which point the expectation was that they might throw an offer sheet his way.
It never happened. Then, earlier this month, Butler signed his restricted free agent tender from the Patriots.
Despite it trending in the direction of the Super Bowle hero remaining with New England next season, it’s being reported that the two sides are expected to continue talking trade.
Saints and Pats expect to continue exploring a Malcolm Butler trade but simply might not be able to agree on trade compensation…
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 21, 2017
As La Canfora points out, the two sides simply might not be able to agree on compensation in a potential trade. New Orleans would have sent its original first-round pick (11th overall) if it had signed Butler with the Pats failing to match. The Saints also have New England’s original first-round pick (32nd overall) from the Brandin Cooks trade.
It’s somewhat of a convoluted situation. Theoretically, New England has the capability of keeping Butler long term. But the team just inked former Buffalo Bills corner Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million contract back in March. It is also without picks in each of the first two rounds of next week’s draft.
This situation promises to get more interesting as the draft in Philadelphia nears. But it appears the lines of communication remain wide open between the two sides.