If a Malcolm Butler trade is going to occur, it will likely take place this week and come down to whether the Saints are ready to surrender their No. 32 overall pick or submit a proposal of a package involving their second-rounder (No. 42), Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. Butler signed his $3.91MM RFA tender earlier this week to pave the way for a trade and Saints/Patriots talks continue, but it’s uncertain if the Saints want to unload a high draft pick and pay the 27-year-old Butler like a top-tier cornerback. Reiss gets the feeling the Patriots won’t have an issue with Butler playing on the RFA tender this season, as they would be able to fetch a compensatory pick after the season if/when Butler departs as a UFA in that scenario.
Here’s the latest from New England and the rest of the league as we enter draft week.
- Aaron Hernandez‘s death closed all cases against him and could open the door to more issues between the NFL and NFLPA regarding the former Patriots tight end’s salary. The league and NFLPA agreed to table any grievance-related discussions until all criminal prosecution of Hernandez concluded, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. That having happened reopens those unresolved issues. Hernandez’s side was demanding $3.25MM in unpaid money from his 2012 signing bonus, and the NFLPA filed a grievance for the former tight end’s 2013 and 2014 guaranteed salaries (in addition to a 2014 guaranteed workout bonus). The NFL and the Patriots’ grievance sought repayment of all money given to Hernandez prior to the 2012 contract extension.
- While initial reports indicated Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst had signed his restricted free agent tender, that doesn’t appear to be the case, tweets salary cap guru Ian Whetstone. Instead, Hurst looks to have agreed to a reduced one-year contract, similar to Baltimore RFA wide receiver Michael Campanaro. Under the terms of his original-round RFA tender, Hurst would have earned $1.797MM in 2017. But he will now will presumably take in a lesser total. Hurst, 25, started three games for the Ravens last season and played on roughly a quarter of the club’s offensive snaps.
- Tyler Lockett expects to be ready for training camp, but the rehabbing Seahawks wideout has an uncertain timetable until then, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports. Lockett broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg in Week 16 of last year and had surgery on Christmas Eve. Lockett told media, including Condotta, he’s aiming to be ready by camp but is viewing any earlier participation as a bonus.
- The Cardinals did not view Karlos Dansby as a backup plan despite his age, contacting the 14th-year linebacker in the opening minutes of free agency, Kent Somers of AZCentral.com reports. Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal, the 35-year-old Dansby is expected to take Kevin Minter‘s place alongside Deone Bucannon at inside linebacker. The Cards allowed Minter to walk, and he signed a one-year, $4MM deal with the Bengals.
- Two personnel men surveyed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn regarding the 2017 draft said Ryan Ramczyk would profile as a second-round pick if this were a more traditional year for offensive line prospects. But with the prognosis grim for this year’s class, the Wisconsin blocker likely will vault into the first round. An AFC team’s staffer said this class of linemen was the worst he’s seen in 10 years.
Dallas Robinson contributed to this report.