Butler, of course, was reportedly dangled in trade talks all offseason, and also had a restricted free agent dalliance with the Saints that ultimately led nowhere. Now that he’s in New England for one more year, Butler is teaming with free agent acquisition Stephon Gilmore to give the Patriots one of the more fearsome cornerback duos in the league. But it’s that hefty investment in Gilmore (five years, $65MM) that will likely lead to Butler going elsewhere.
New England has made Butler a “slew of offers” over the past few seasons, but none recently, per Rapoport, and the club is “done” negotiating with Butler. Additionally, the Patriots have no plans to use the franchise tag on Butler, as that would come with a price tag north of $15MM. Instead, New England hopes that Butler lands an expensive contract on the open market, which would in turn entitle the Pats to a 2019 compensatory selection.
A deal that makes Butler one of the NFL’s highest-paid corners isn’t out the question, as he’s started all 32 games over the past two seasons and ranked as the league’s No. 7 CB in 2016, per Pro Football Focus. Etched into the history books thanks to his game-winning interception in Super Bowl XLIX, Butler should surpass the $15MM per year barrier on the open market.
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