New England Patriots Pro Bowl cornerback Malcolm Butler entered the 2017 season looking for a new contract. After an offseason in which he was bandied about as trade bait, Butler ultimately signed the one-year, $3.9 million restricted free agent tender New England threw his way.
Now, two weeks into the season, the former Super Bowl hero is in no way happy with his performance.
“I haven’t been performing at the level that I should be performing at,” Butler said, via CSN New England. “I gotta do whatever I gotta do to help the team. Whatever role that I get, I got a job to do so I gotta do it. Just gotta keep grinding, keep working hard.”
As the report notes, Butler was seen working as New England’s No. 3 corner behind free agent acquisition Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe last week against the New Orleans Saints. After two weeks, Pro Football Focus has graded Butler out as the 41st-best cover corner in the NFL.
That’s a far cry for someone who was said to be demanding franchise cornerback money during the spring and summer. In terms of New England’s unwillingness to commit to him over the long term, Butler is attempting to get that out of his head and just focus on football.
“We all had those feelings before, but we wake up and realize in reality that it’s not going to help you,” he said. “It’s not going to help you. I just gotta go out there and play hard with a lot of fire and that’s what I’m going to do. We’ll see.”
It’s not a secret that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has no problem benching players who have crept into his doghouse. If Week 2 is any indication, Butler has not exactly inspired much confidence in his head coach. It will be something to watch as the season progresses.