Malcolm Butler rejoined his New England Patriots teammates at Gillette Stadium this week. But he did so begrudgingly, according to a report.
CSNNE.com’s Mike Giardi reported Thursday the Patriots cornerback “badly” wanted to be traded to the New Orleans Saints, who showed interest in him before the 2017 NFL Draft, and only is back in New England because he has exhausted his options.
“He wanted to be traded,” Giardi said on CSNNE’s “Early Edition.” “He knew what the money was in New Orleans. So when we talk about him, ‘Oh, he’s happy. It’s nice that he’s joined his teammates again.’ He had no other choice.”
Butler waited more than a month to sign his restricted free agent tender, visiting with the Saints in the interim. He’s set to make just $3.91 million this season, nearly $10 million less than new teammate Stephon Gilmore will take home.
Gilmore, a Pro Bowl cornerback with the Buffalo Bills last season, signed a five-year, $65 million contract with the Patriots shortly after free agency opened in March.
“(Butler) wanted New Orleans,” Giardi said. “He wanted them badly. They couldn’t work out a deal. So what’s he supposed to do now? Sit at home? No, you suck it up. You have to turn yourself back into a Patriot at least for a year and hope. Who knows, maybe you do your work and maybe they say, ‘Hey, Malcolm, you know what, we can’t give you Gilmore money. But maybe we can find something. Maybe we’ve got $10 or $11 million.’ ”
Butler has been New England’s No. 1 cornerback since Darrelle Revis left town after the 2014 season. It will be interesting to see how or if his role will change with Gilmore now in the mix.
The Gilmore signing filled the void left by No. 2 corner Logan Ryan, who signed with the Tennessee Titans in free agency. The rest of the Patriots’ secondary should remain largely intact, as cornerbacks Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones, Jonathan Jones and Justin Coleman, and safeties Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon all are under contract for this season.
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images