What’s the latest with Malcolm Butler and his future with Patriots?
|03.13.17 at 12:43 pm ET|
It’s been an interesting week for Malcolm Butler.
Last week at this time the overwhelming thought was he was going to be the Patriots’ No. 1 cornerback for a long time, and now there’s a chance he won’t even be on the Patriots at all in 2017.
It all changed when the Patriots signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million deal with $40 million guaranteed on the first day of free agency.
According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, the Patriots told Butler last season they would not be willing to pay a corner more than $10 million per year and offered him a long-term deal in the range of $6-7 million per year. Clearly, that didn’t get it done.
Therefore, Gilmore’s deal obviously didn’t go over well with the 27-year-old Butler, who is on the books for $3.91 million as a restricted free agent given the Patriots placed a first-round tender on him.
Sunday night, reports started to come out that Butler’s agent was trying to find teams willing to give up a first-round pick needed to sign Butler and get him out of New England. Monday morning, Howe reported there are teams in fact interested in the cornerback.
The narrative with Butler’s agent speaking to other teams is Butler is unhappy in New England and wants out. But, that may not be the case.
Howe also added Butler would like to be a “Patriot for life” and will not hold out if his $3.91 million deal stands for 2017. Piggy-baking on that, Mike Lombardi of The Ringer, says the reports of Butler being unhappy in Foxboro are just a way to give teams a reason to put offers in on the cornerback.
Ultimately, if the offers come in and the Patriots want to keep him, they would be forced to match.
What all this means is simply Butler wants to get paid.
Butler’s agent is doing everything in his power to get his client paid, which is his job. The only problem is he doesn’t have any leverage to do so given he is a restricted free agent. Next offseason is the year for Butler to get paid when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The 27-year-old and his team have reason to be upset with the Gilmore deal given what he was told by the organization last year, but complaining about it now really isn’t the right way to go given his restricted free agent status. He has all the reason in the world to be upset by it, but he needs to understand what his contract means. Butler certainly isn’t the only player in the NFL to be underpaid, and he certainly won’t be the last. In the end, those players generally end up getting taken care of.
If he truly wants to be a Patriot for life, the reported info (likely leaked by his camp) are doing him no favors since it opens the door for other teams to put in offer sheets, or the Patriots to trade him. It’s a complex situation, but the best advice for Butler if he wants to stay in New England long-term is to keep doing what he’s done over the past year and not complain and do his talking on the field.
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