NFL free agency opened four days ago, and we still don’t know for which team Malcolm Butler will suit up this fall.
Butler has yet to sign the first-round restricted free-agent tender the New England Patriots placed on him last week — the equivalent of a one-year contract that would pay him $3.91 million this season — and speculation about the cornerback’s future has been rampant.
The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe added more fuel to that fire with a string of tweets Monday morning.
The highlights, all according to Howe’s source: Butler wants to be a “Patriot for life,” he’s garnered interest from other teams, and he viewed the five-year, $65 million contract New England gave free-agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore last week as a “gut punch,” since he’d been told the Patriots wouldn’t pay any corner more than $10 million per year.
Also, though he’s reportedly unhappy with his contract situation, Butler “doesn’t have any plans to hold out,” per Howe’s source.
Butler has been the Patriots’ No. 1 cornerback since Darrelle Revis’ departure in 2015. The Super Bowl XLIX hero earned Pro Bowl honors in his first year as a starter and was a second-team All-Pro this season, leading New England with four interceptions and 17 pass breakups.
Though $3.91 million is a bargain for a player of Butler’s caliber, it still would represent a sizable raise for the 27-year-old, who made just $600,000 in salary this past season.
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