It Is What It Is
NEED TO KNOW
Follow WEEI.com football writer Ryan Hannable at twitter.com/RyanHannable. In addition, get the latest WEEI.com updates at twitter.com/WEEI.
A WEEI.com Patriots Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Posts related to ‘2017 NFL free agency’
What’s the latest with Malcolm Butler and the Saints? 03.20.17 at 2:06 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on What’s the latest with Malcolm Butler and the Saints?
Malcolm Butler and the Saints appear to still be working out a new contract. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Butler and the Saints appear to still be working out a new contract. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Last week restricted free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler met with the Saints on Wednesday and Thursday as the two sides look to come to agreement on a long-term deal.

According to CSNNE’s Mike Giardi, the parameters of a deal are mostly in place, but there’s some quibbling over guaranteed money. The report adds compensation between the Patriots and Saints can’t be discussed until Butler signs his tender, but both sides know what it will take to get a deal done.

ESPN’s Mike Triplett, who covers the Saints, adds “it is a process that could go either way.”

Nothing can happen until the Saints and Butler agree on a long-term contract, which by having Butler in for a visit last week, means the interest is there.

It would appear Butler isn’t going to sign his first-round tender ($3.91 million) until he knows he can get a long-term deal with the Saints. That would then trigger a domino effect where the Patriots could then trade Butler because he’s under contract.

At this point it seems the No. 11 overall pick (if the Saints signed him as a restricted free agent and Patriots didn’t match) will not be happening.

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

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Malcolm Butler,
Since Sean Payton is gushing over Malcolm Butler following visit, does it hint CB is likely leaving Patriots? 03.17.17 at 11:20 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on Since Sean Payton is gushing over Malcolm Butler following visit, does it hint CB is likely leaving Patriots?
Malcolm Butler appears destined for New Orleans. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Butler appears destined for New Orleans. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Restricted free agent Malcolm Butler visited with the Saints on Wednesday and Thursday, and according to coach Sean Payton, the visit went well.

So well that Payton was comfortable talking about the 27-year-old on Xtra 360 radio in San Diego on Friday morning.

“You know, coming out of a small town in Mississippi and through junior college and into West Alabama, it’s pretty amazing,” Payton said courtesy of ESPN.com. “And the first three years he’s had in this league, shoot, he’s had a tremendous amount of success, winning two Super Bowls in three years and being a big part of a team that’s accomplished a lot. So I’d say he’s humble, but when you watch the tape, he plays with a chip on his shoulder.”

Payton added: “We’ve practiced with New England now in that three-year time frame twice, so there’s a lot of additional practice tape that we have a chance to look closely at. And I’m sure Bill [Belichick] and his staff were the same way when evaluating [Brandin] Cooks.”

Butler is a restricted free agent, not an unrestricted free agent, which is where things get tricky.

Since the Patriots gave him the first-round tender, he’s on the books for $3.91 million in 2017 once he signs the deal and if another team places an offer sheet on him and the Patriots do not match, the Patriots get that team’s first-round pick in return. In the Saints’ case it would be the No. 11 overall pick. New Orleans appears hesitant to do that, but probably would be willing to part ways with their No. 32 pick, which they got from New England in the Brandin Cooks trade.

The way to get to that point would be working out a trade after Butler agrees to sign his tender offer. Given the relationship between Bill Belichick and Payton, this could happen. It’s also worth noting this could have came up last week in the Cooks trade talks and some agreement could have already been made, as Butler was rumored to be included in the deal, but ultimately wasn’t. Once Butler gets to the Saints, it’s likely he will get a long-term deal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Malcolm Butler, sean payton,
Patriots re-sign LB Dont’a Hightower to reported 4-year deal 03.15.17 at 1:45 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Patriots re-sign LB Dont’a Hightower to reported 4-year deal
Dont'a Hightower is back with the Patriots. (Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower is back with the Patriots. (Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower is officially back with the Patriots.

On Wednesday afternoon his agency confirmed the move via Twitter. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport adds the contract is for four years and worth $43.5 million with $19 million guaranteed.

The linebacker reportedly visited the Jets and Steelers earlier this week, but ultimately the 27-year-old decided to return to New England, the place he’s spent the first five years in the league at and won two Super Bowls.

The Jets reportedly offered Hightower over $12 million per year, but it seems like Hightower valued winning a little more than money.

New England gets one of its leaders on defense back in 2017, as once again it will have one of the best defenses in football.

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

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Dont'a Hightower,
Report: Dont’a Hightower slated to make decision Wednesday, expected to return to Patriots at 8:10 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on Report: Dont’a Hightower slated to make decision Wednesday, expected to return to Patriots
Dont'a Hightower reportedly is expected to make a decision Wednesday. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower reportedly is expected to make a decision Wednesday. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

It looks like Wednesday is decision day for Dont’a Hightower.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Hightower is slated to make a decision on which team he will sign with.

He’s deciding between the Steelers, Jets and Patriots. The 27-year-old visited with the Jets Sunday and Monday and then the Steelers Tuesday.

Hightower reportedly is seeking $10-13 million per year. The Jets are said to have offered the most money, but it appears Hightower values winning and the money might not be enough. On Tuesday, the Steelers reportedly said they would pull their offer if Hightower got on a plane to leave town because they didn’t want to be used by them.

Rapoport adds those involve expect him to return to New England.

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

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Dont'a Hightower,
Steelers reportedly playing hardball with Dont’a Hightower, don’t want him leaving town without signing 03.14.17 at 5:42 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Steelers reportedly playing hardball with Dont’a Hightower, don’t want him leaving town without signing
The Steelers are playing hardball with Dont'a Hightower. (Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

The Steelers are playing hardball with Dont’a Hightower. (Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

The Steelers do not want to be used by Dont’a Hightower.

According to NFL Media’s Aditi Kinkabwala, the Steelers have told Hightower their offer is gone if he gets on the plane to leave town. He’s reportedly left their facility after a visit on Tuesday.

The Steelers likely know Hightower was going to take their offer to the Patriots so they could see what he was getting and then the team would base their offer off that.

The linebacker reportedly is seeking $10-13 million per season.

It was also reported Monday that many teams around the league believe Hightower will eventually re-sign with the Patriots.

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

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Dont'a Hightower,
Patriots sign RB Rex Burkhead, but team still needs to add bigger back at 5:32 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Patriots sign RB Rex Burkhead, but team still needs to add bigger back
Rex Burkhead signed with the Patriots on Tuesday. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

Rex Burkhead signed with the Patriots on Tuesday. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots remained busy on Tuesday by adding a running back.

It wasn’t LeGarrette Blount, but rather former Bengals running back Rex Burkhead.

Last season, Burkhead played in all 16 games and had 74 carries for 344 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 17 receptions for 145 yards. The Nebraska product is more of a gadget back, as some thought the Bengals could even have him line up in the slot.

Burkhead, 26, also is a core special teams player, so it appears his signing means Brandon Bolden’s days as a Patriot are over.

The Patriots still need to add a big running back, someone like Blount (who is still on the market, by the way), to run in between the tackles on first and second down. As of now, the Patriots have Dion Lewis, James White, DJ Foster and Burkhead on the 2017 running back depth chart.

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

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Rex Burkhead,
Report: Dont’a Hightower’s visit with Steelers went well, LB now buying time to talk with Patriots at 3:42 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Report: Dont’a Hightower’s visit with Steelers went well, LB now buying time to talk with Patriots
Dont'a Hightower reportedly finished his visit with the Steelers. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower reportedly finished his visit with the Steelers. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

It appears Dont’a Hightower’s visit with the Steelers has ended.

According to NFL Media’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, there were positive vibes coming from the Steelers after Hightower’s visit. There’s no deal between the two sides yet, and it appears it is because Hightower is buying time to talk with the Patriots.

This makes sense considering this is how many expected the Patriots to approach things. Bill Belichick typically allows his free agents to test the market, see what offers they get and then return with the offers and allow the Patriots to decide how to proceed.

The linebacker visited with the Jets on Sunday and Monday.

Hightower reportedly is seeking between $10-13 million per year. On Monday, it was reported the Steelers going more than $10 million would be “out of the Steelers’ comfort.”

It seems like the ball is now in Belichick and the Patriots’ court.

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

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

2017 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS

2017 NFL DRAFT

Player News
2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Patriots Headlines
NFL Headlines
Tips & Feedback

Verify