ESPN reporter Adam Schefter has insisted throughout the lead-up to the 2017 NFL Draft that the New England Patriots will not trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
A few hours before the draft kicked off Thursday night, Schefter shot down another hot Patriots rumor, saying on “SportsCenter” that New England is “unlikely” to trade cornerback Malcolm Butler to the New Orleans Saints.
“The two sides have had discussions throughout the past couple of times since Malcolm Butler signed his tender,” Schefter said. “The fact of the matter is a trade is going to be difficult to pull off. It doesn’t mean the Saints have given up on the idea, and it doesn’t mean the Patriots have given up on the idea. But a trade at this point is unlikely.
“Now, if the draft falls a certain way, if New Orleans is unhappy with the way the draft goes in the first round, I guess the Saints always could go back and revisit it. But right now, it’s going to be difficult for this trade to be pulled off — though not impossible.”
Schefter’s report echoed what others have reported over the days and weeks leading up draft night. Butler met with the Saints before signing his first-round tender with the Patriots — and, according to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, reached an agreement on a $50 million contract — but the teams haven’t been able to come to terms on a potential trade.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport earlier this week reported a Butler-to-New Orleans deal was “unlikely,” and Peter King of The MMQB reported the Saints are “leaning toward keeping their first three picks.”
The Patriots currently do not own any picks in the first two rounds of this year’s draft.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images