Are the New England Patriots preparing to trade Malcolm Butler to the New Orleans Saints? It sure seems that way.
Butler spent the past two days meeting with members of the Saints organization, with reports indicating the sides were “motivated” to reach an agreement on a deal.
Then, New Orleans coach Sean Payton raved about the cornerback Friday morning during an interview with XTRA 1360 in San Diego, according to quotes that were, interestingly, tweeted out from the Saints’ official account.
Butler, a restricted free agent, would need to sign his first-round tender with the Patriots before any trade could be completed. If a swap is finalized, New Orleans likely would sign him to a lucrative contract extension immediately after acquiring him.
These teams already have pulled off one trade this offseason, with New England acquiring wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round draft pick from New Orleans in exchange for the 32nd overall pick and a third-rounder.
The Patriots, who currently have zero picks in the first and second rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, could look to recoup the No. 32 selection in a potential Butler trade.
UPDATE (10:55 a.m. ET): Here’s Payton’s full quote, as transcribed by ESPN.com:
“You know, coming out of a small town in Mississippi and through junior college and into West Alabama, it’s pretty amazing. And the first three years he’s had in this league, shoot, he’s had a tremendous amount of success, winning two Super Bowls in three years and being a big part of a team that’s accomplished a lot. So I’d say he’s humble, but when you watch the tape, he plays with a chip on his shoulder.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images