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What’s the latest with Malcolm Butler and his future with Patriots? 03.13.17 at 12:43 pm ET
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Malcolm Butler's current situation is complex, especially if he wants to stay with the Patriots. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Butler’s current situation is complex, especially if he wants to stay with the Patriots. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Malcolm Butler,
Dont’a Hightower reportedly visiting Steelers after Jets 03.13.17 at 11:46 am ET
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Dont'a Hightower reportedly visiting Steelers. (Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower reportedly visiting Steelers. (Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower won’t be done visiting teams after the Jets.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Hightower will be visiting with the Steelers after his visit with the Jets wraps up.

The linebacker is scheduled to fly to Pittsburgh Monday night, but the winter storm that is expected to hit the East Coast could impact the plans and thus push the visit back.

The Steelers are certainly a more intriguing option than the Jets since they are in a much better position to win, coming off a season where they lost to the Patriots in the AFC championship game. Hightower reportedly is seeking $10-13 million per season.

It is worth noting teams who have met with Hightower — reportedly the Jets and Titans — believe the 27-year-old will ultimately re-sign with the Patriots.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Despite visits, NFL teams reportedly ‘convinced’ Dont’a Hightower will return to Patriots 03.13.17 at 10:38 am ET
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NFL teams are reportedly convinced he re-signs with the Patriots. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

NFL teams are reportedly convinced he re-signs with the Patriots. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Now five days into NFL free agency, Dont’a Hightower still doesn’t have a home.

Hightower reportedly is visiting with the Jets, which will wrap up on Monday, and also spent time with the Titans, but according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport both teams are “convinced” he re-signs with the Patriots.

The middle linebacker is the best free agent middle linebacker on the market and reportedly seeking $10-13 million per year.

Before free agency began, Hightower and Bill Belichick reportedly had a good conversation, likely making sure the two sides were on good terms.

Hightower is coming off his rookie deal and wants to make sure he cashes in, considering this could be the last contract he signs.

For more on Hightower’s situation, and how he could be using the Jets to drive up his price, click here.

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Dont'a Hightower,
Patriots reportedly having former Bengals RB Rex Burkhead in for visit 03.13.17 at 10:19 am ET
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Rex Burkhead reportedly is visiting the Patriots. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

Rex Burkhead reportedly is visiting the Patriots. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

The free agent visits are continuing for the Patriots.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots are having former Bengals running back Rex Burkhead in for a visit.

Burkhead isn’t the big running back the Patriots need, as he is more of a pass catching back. He had 17 catches for 145 last year, while also rushing for 344 yards and two touchdowns on 74 carries. The Bengals also considered lining him up in the slot on certain plays, so he has the versatility the Patriots like.

With James White, Dion Lewis and D.J. Foster already on the roster, it seems like Burkhead is more of an insurance policy than anything. It is possible he could be a replacement for Brandon Bolden, who currently is an unrestricted free agent.

Burkheas was a 2013 sixth-round pick out of Nebraska.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Malcolm Butler’s agent reportedly contacting teams to try and get CB out of New England 03.12.17 at 9:39 pm ET
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Malcolm Butler could be playing elsewhere in 2017. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Butler could be playing elsewhere in 2017. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

It appears Malcolm Butler really isn’t happy in New England following what happened last week with the team signing Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million deal.

According to CBS’ Jason La Canfora, Butler’s agent is contacting teams trying to find one to part ways with their first-round pick in order to sign the cornerback because that is the tender the Patriots placed on him.

Another team would need to offer a pretty big contract to the 27-year-old considering the Patriots have the right to match, and a below average offer would actually be doing the Patriots a favor.

Say Butler is offered a three-year deal for $21 million by another team, the Patriots would likely match that offer considering it is great value for a player like Butler. If a team is really serious about landing Butler, it would need to offer a deal the Patriots wouldn’t match. This would also give Butler what he wants — a big contract.

The report adds the Patriots would be OK with losing Butler and getting a first-round pick in return since they don’t have a first or second-round pick of their own. Butler is apparently seeking Gilmore money, which is $13 million per year.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Malcolm Butler,
Dont’a Hightower reportedly visiting Jets 03.12.17 at 8:54 pm ET
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Dont'a Hightower reportedly will visit the Jets on Monday. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower reportedly will visit the Jets on Monday. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Maybe the Jets’ interest in Dont’a Hightower is real.

According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Hightower is visiting the team and the meeting will wrap up on Monday. It was reported Sunday the Jets and Patriots were leading the way in teams interested in the linebacker.

Now four days into free agency, Hightower has yet to sign with a team, which is a little strange considering he was the best middle linebacker on the market.

Hightower, who turned 27 on Sunday, is coming off of his rookie contract and will likely look to become one of, if not the highest paid middle linebacker in the game. He’s reportedly seeking between $10-13 million per year.

It would be pretty interesting if the Jets and Patriots were to in fact get into a bidding war for Hightower.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Dont'a Hightower,
Jets, Patriots reportedly leading pack of teams interested in Dont’a Hightower 03.12.17 at 1:45 pm ET
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Dont'a Hightower reportedly is getting interest from the Jets, as well as the Patriots. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower reportedly is getting interest from the Jets, as well as the Patriots. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

A mystery team has emerged in the Dont’a Hightower sweepstakes.

According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Jets are one of the teams interested in the linebacker. The report adds the Jets and Patriots are leading the pack of teams interested in him, but several other teams are monitoring the situation closely as well.

At the open of free agency it appeared it was just the Patriots, Titans and Dolphins interested in Hightower, but then Miami and Tennessee dropped out of the running. There was always the thought there was a mystery team or teams were involved, and now we know there are in fact more teams interested in the linebacker.

It is interesting Hightower hasn’t signed yet, which likely is a sign he isn’t getting the money he expected to get on the open market. It was reported last week he was seeking between $10-13 million per year. From a Patriots perspective, even with all the moves they have made, they still have plenty of cap space to sign him.

Hightower is celebrating his 27th birthday Sunday.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Dont'a Hightower,

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