The New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints might not be done wheeling and dealing.
Saints head coach Sean Payton told The Associated Press that Patriots free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler is set to visit New Orleans on Thursday. Butler is a restricted free agent, so the Saints could acquire the cornerback by signing him to an offer sheet. The Patriots would then have the right to match the contract offered by the Saints to retain Butler. If they chose not to match, the Saints would have to give the Patriots their first-round draft pick, which is 11th overall.
The Saints and Patriots also could work out a trade for Butler if the cornerback signs the first-round tender, worth $3.91 million, offered to him by New England. In that scenario, the Patriots could potentially get back their own first round pick — 32nd overall — which they traded in a package for wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
The Saints likely would be more willing to give up No. 32 overall than No. 11.
It’s looking more and more likely Butler won’t be on the Patriots in 2017. The Patriots signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year contract on the first day of free agency, and if the Patriots can’t hold onto Butler long term, it makes sense to trade him for a first-round pick.
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