All is not well between the New England Patriots and restricted free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler.
Butler is currently refusing to sign the first-round tender that the Patriots placed on him last week. The tender is said to be a one-year deal worth $3.9 million, with the goal of placing the tender on Butler the chance to reach a long-term agreement.
The long-term agreement happening appears to be in the rear view mirror now. New England signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million deal, meaning that how the Patriots choose to approach a Butler extension remains to be seen.
So why won’t Butler sign the tender for a one-year contract and hope he and the Patriots can work something out next off-season? Mike Giardi of Comcast SportsNet New England is reporting that Butler wants out of New England, due to the team’s position on his contract, and the signing of Gilmore.
Giardi also went out to note that the Patriots have not offered Butler a contract similar to Gilmore, which is the deal that Butler is said to be seeking. Butler’s agent is reaching out to other teams, seeing if there is a team would be willing to send a first-round pick over to the Patriots to sign his client.
New England has already traded their original first-round draft pick in a trade for wide receiver Brandin Cooks with the New Orleans Saints. The Patriots wanted to attach Butler in the trade, but due to Butler’s refusal to sign the tender, they were unable to.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Confora reported about Butler wanting a Gilmore-type contract, and he is also reporting that the Patriots are open to letting another team sign Butler to a long-term deal and collecting a first-round pick, which means they are content with him leaving.
If that is the case, Butler will be the second cornerback the Patriots have lost this off-season via free agency. Logan Ryan signed a three-year deal with the Tennessee Titans last week. New England is also in talks with Dont’a Hightower, with the hope being to re-sign the linebacker currently meeting with the New York Jets.
The 27-year-old Butler had 63 total tackles in the 2016 regular season to go along with 17 pass deflections, 4 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble.
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