Butler, who is entering the off-season as a restricted free agent, was tendered by the Patriots with a 1st round tender which was not welcomed by the cornerback and which he has refused to sign. He was able to observe it when his Saints faced them in joint practices during training camp a year ago. After making just $600,000 last season, Butler was one of the best bargains in the entire NFL.
Butler will visit the Saints on Thursday and reportedly the two sides will discuss a long-term contract. The vertical threat which nearly certainly spells the end for Michael Floyd and Danny Amendola in New England, cost a first and third-round pick while bringing in a fourth.
While the rest of the league is hesitant when it comes to player trades, the Patriots have made them a significant part of their reloading process.
Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports, reported that the Texans were interested in sending a second-round pick from this year to possibly acquire Butler for the upcoming season.
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And that's what makes this Patriots' offseason so unusual - the Patriots are spending big and going after big-name players that they usually don't.
He was linked to the Titans and Eagles in early March trade rumors before he was finally dealt to the Patriots this past Friday.
After being initially frustrated and angry with the New England Patriots, Malcolm Butler has seemed to calm down. There were discussions between the Saints and the Patriots for a deal that would have sent Butler to New Orleans for wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Would New England be willing to go lower than the first round when waging the reality that Butler would likely be gone a year from now, and a compensatory pick would be all that's left? Cooks, though, was about to have his $781,599 roster bonus kick in this Monday, and time to take the best available offer on the table was diminishing. In New Orleans' case, that means the 11th pick.
The 27-year old Butler is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Patriots would have an opportunity to match any offer that he would agree to with the Saints.
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Ealy had three sacks in the Super Bowl against Denver two years ago, but never developed into the dominant pass rusher the Panthers hoped he would become. If he signs, his agent would no longer be allowed to negotiate with teams and his salary for the season would be significantly lower than his asking price.
"As a young guy I think there were some things that I would've liked to have done more", Cooks said.
Adding a little intrigue to the move, at 5-foot-10, 189 pounds, Cooks is comparable in size and speed to former Patriots receiver Deion Branch (5-foot-9, 191 pounds, 4.47 40-yard dash), one of Brady's all-time favorite targets.
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