Malcolm Butler signed his restricted free agent tender Tuesday, but it remains to be seen whether the star cornerback will stay with the New England Patriots or be traded.
Butler has been seeking a contract worth more than the one-year, $3.91 million tender he signed, and New Orleans is among the teams that have showed interest. But Butler wasn’t signed to an offer sheet, which the Patriots could’ve matched to keep him; or if they chose not to, they would’ve received a first-round draft pick in compensation. Instead, the Saints are believed to covet Butler in exchange for the No. 32 overall pick they received in the trade that sent Brandin Cooks to New England.
The Patriots signed top free-agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore last month to a five-year, $65 million contract and reportedly have expressed interest in Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis, among others.
Butler, now 27, was an undrafted free agent who during his rookie season of 2014 intercepted Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at the goal line in the final minutes of the Super Bowl to secure the victory for the Patriots. But New England coach Bill Belichick has balked at giving him the lucrative, long-term security he has been seeking.
Also Tuesday, the Pats locked up Super Bowl hero James White with a three-year contract extension that will keep him in New England through 2020, according to multiple reports, and signed Bills running back Mike Gillislee to a two-year, $6.4 million offer sheet. If Buffalo fails to match, the Pats will have two new running backs and likely won’t be bringing back LeGarrette Blount or signing Adrian Peterson.