Jason Whitlock: Belichick ‘clearly made a mistake’ by pushing Malcolm Butler out of New England

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Greg Jennings and Doug Gottlieb join Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock to discuss Malcolm Butler signing with the Tennessee Titans.

- Cowherd, does this still prove Belichick botched the Super Bowl?

- No. It's proof Tennessee overpays for players. Generic and brand names, mostly the same product, but generally people will pay more for a brand name. New England players come out of that system and they're brand names.

If Dion Lewis played for Jacksonville, would you pay him that money? If Malcolm Butler played for Arizona, would you pay him that money? Players leave New England in that system and they're overvalued. They become brands in the NFL's best system. And Tennessee has a history a lot of losing teams do-- of trying to grab a little bit of the New England magic and they usually get smoked.

- Vrabel, from the Belichick tree.

- How do we know he's a good coach?

- He's from the Belichick tree. Robinson, the front office guy, is from the New England tree. And you can't tell me all of these people don't know anything about Malcolm Butler and what led to the guy playing 97% of the snaps leading up to the Super Bowl, and then he doesn't play at all.

You can't tell-- Vrabel's not an idiot. Robinson, the front office guy, not an idiot. Bill Belichick is a hell of a coach. The best we've ever seen in football. He clearly made a mistake and something personal is at work here with Malcolm Butler.

This is more than any of this Spygate, Deflategate, whatever they want to say about Belichick. The tuck rule. None of that matters. What he did to Malcolm Butler, to me, that's the stain on him. It's not a big stain, but it's a stain on Belichick, the greatest coach we've seen in football.

- I don't-- no. No. No. For me, this is no knock on Belichick. It's hard for me-- and again, I'm a player, former player. And I always would question coaching, especially when I didn't outright agree. In the decision that Belichick has or had to bench Malcolm Butler in that Super Bowl game.

We will never quite know the fullness of it. But I truly believe that there was something that he was trying to do. He's a chess player and he's a thinker. He may have been trying to disengage the interest for teams wanting Malcolm Butler so that they could retain him at a lower rate. And that may have backfired.

- At the Super Bowl?

- That may have backfired. But I just don't-- I can't question Belichick when the decisions that he's always made, it's typically been right. He's made them right. And he's been successful.

- Unless he's Jesus, he's not infallible.

- I'm not saying he's infallible.

- Nobody's saying he's infallible. Can't both of these things be true? Can't he have made what you would consider in the short term a mistake, but in the long term be the reason that they go to eight Super Bowls? I mean, that's really what it is.

Like we can question the methods. We can question why he traded away Jamie Collins last year when they had no pass rush. But we can't question the fact that he keeps finding a way to get guys that buy in at a lower rate than they should and is successful.

- OK. They lost Nate Solder, Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola, and Malcolm Butler in the last 24 hours. I could make the argument he's fourth most valuable. He's not Nate Solar. There's no way he's as valuable as Dion Lewis.

- I think you guys are changing the conversation. It's like, you know Michael Jackson made a mediocre album or two and he's still the greatest. You know, prince. You know, not every song was perfect. And so, again, you guys act like Bill Belichick's perfect.

In my opinion-- I've heard from Tom Brady on this-- he didn't agree with the decision. I've heard from Dont'a Hightower. Didn't agree with the decision. Mike Vrabel just showed me he disagreed with the decision.

The Detroit Lions and Matt Patricia, they were interested in Malcolm Butlet. They didn't agree with the decision. Bill Belichick did something stupid and cost his team the damn Super Bowl.

- Hold on now. They missed a field goal, which they never do.

- They gave up 41 points.

- They missed an extra point. They did. They did. And Tom Brady still had--

- Nick Foles looked like Roger Staubach and Bart Starr rolled together.

- I'm not disputing that they would have been a better team athletically and talent wise and match-up wise with Malcolm Butler. But again, whatever he's done-- and the reason we haven't heard anything about it is because they were going to bury whatever he did leading up to that Super Bowl so that he could sign a contract elsewhere.

They don't want to crush his ability to make money elsewhere. They think he's a good player. They took him from nothing.

- Let me ask you something.

- Hold on.

- You were an athlete. Let me ask you something. If you had played 97% of the minutes on Oklahoma State's run to the Final Four in the championship game and you got sat, and you had played 97--

- No, no, no.

- We actually saw it-- this is a crazy thing that I know this-- in the women's Final Four last year. Where I think was like Mississippi State where their best player didn't play in the fourth quarter at all. And they was something that went on.

My point is this. There is not a New England--

- What happened in the first three quarters? Malcolm Butler didn't get a snap, man.

- I understand. But my point is that whatever he did made Bill Belichick say, you know what? I want to make an example of him. And the rest of the way, as long as I'm going to coach in New England, you are going to-- sure.

- If Bill Belichick put his ego above Brady and everybody else--

- I totally believe it was an Eagle deal, but who am I to question it when it has always been proven to work?

- Sounds like parenting to me.

- It doesn't matter. Even if they had won the Super Bowl, I don't think they're trying to sign Malcolm Butler to this type of deal. No, he's not.

- Hey. Wait. When you played, right? You've got to go to school if you want to play, right? Or you've got to go to practice if you want to play. And we all know that there are coaches like, man, do I look the other way? Because Jason Whitlock's my best player. And here's a dude that has not looked the other way.

He just hasn't. He hasn't given in on anybody. And it actually makes me think more of Bill Belichick that in the biggest game of the year, in an incredibly-- anyone could have gone like, I need Malcolm Butler in there at half time. We're getting lit up trying to play a safety at cornerback. But instead, he stuck. If you change your principles at a moment of that type of pressure, then they weren't principles to begin with.

- Brady is on my side. And so you're against Brady on that. Brady and anybody with a brain knows Malcolm Butler's--

- Brady put out an Instagram that said I love you. That doesn't mean he's on your side. I mean, literally--

- So social media is exactly what people really think?

- No. It's not what they really think. No. This decision was stupid. And Belichick's still a great coach, but he did something dumb.

- Can we wait to find out what he really did, and then you can say whether or not you think it's stupid? Because he didn't play well against Tennessee. He wasn't playing--

- We're never going to know. Belichick doesn't have to explain anything because y'all don't want to question Belichick because of what he did yesterday.

- The truth always comes out.

- You trust Tennessee more than New England. That's what you're telling me? You trust their judgment more than New England?

- Well, no. You know what Belichick's decisions were for the 97% of the season? To play Malcolm Butler. I trust that decision.