Malcolm Butler’s future with the New England Patriots remains up in the air.
The Pro Bowl cornerback still hasn’t signed the first-round tender placed on him by the Patriots this offseason, and he has been the subject of trade rumors ever since New England made a splash by signing fellow cornerback Stephon Gilmore on Day 1 of NFL free agency.
So what are the Patriots seeking in exchange for Butler, who visited with the New Orleans Saints amid the trade speculation? Perhaps only one man — Patriots head coach (and general manager) Bill Belichick — knows for sure, but former Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik speculated on New England’s asking price and what the team realistically could settle for in an ESPN.com story.
Here’s how Dominik sees things:
What the Patriots are hoping for: Saints’ No. 11 overall pick.
What the Patriots would settle for: First-rounder in the lower teens.
Saints coach Sean Payton said last month that his team wouldn’t sign Butler to an offer sheet, all but eliminating the possibility of New Orleans shipping its 11th overall draft pick to New England in order to land the two-time Super Bowl champion. That said, a trade still could happen, and Dominik dove deeper into the possibility in his ESPN.com piece.
Here’s what Dominik said on the topic:
Right now, New Orleans owns the 11th overall pick and the Patriots’ first-rounder (32nd overall) after the Brandin Cooks trade. New England, meanwhile, doesn’t have a selection in the first two rounds of the draft. The Patriots appear to be open to trading Butler, who’s one year away from hitting unrestricted free agency, if they can recoup a first-rounder. The issue: New England doesn’t want its 32nd pick back in return for Butler, and New Orleans doesn’t want to deal the 11th. The only way this deal gets done is if the Saints trade down from 11 to somewhere around picks 16-19. That could be a nice middle ground for each team. I don’t think any teams other than the Saints are interested in Butler at the moment. This is certainly a situation to watch on draft night.
For the record, Dominik also believes the Patriots will keep backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who, like Butler, has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images