The Saints and Patriots expect to continue exploring a Malcolm Butler trade, but the two sides simply might not be able to agree on trade compensation, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). JLC suggests that the Patriots’ demands for Butler could be altered by a Jimmy Garoppolo trade, but it’s not clear if that comes from first-hand knowledge of team thinking or if that is just speculative.
A deal could be hard to swing since it would likely require the Saints to pay Butler like a top cornerback and sacrifice significant draft compensation. Meanwhile, this is a strong class for cornerbacks and the secondary as a whole. The Patriots have been wheelin’ and dealin’ this offseason, but ultimately they have the option of standing pat and retaining Butler at a $3.91MM salary for the 2017 season. The Patriots are still open to a deal, as today’s report indicates, but they’re not necessarily motivated sellers and they won’t take pennies on the dollar.
The Patriots might place a draft-day deadline on talks as they may not be interested in taking on 2018 picks as compensation. That means the Butler-to-the-Saints saga (at least, for 2017) could soon be put to rest in a matter of days.
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