New England defensive tackle Adam Butler set career highs in sacks, tackles, tackles for loss, quarterback hits and even pass deflections during the Patriots 2019 season.

The 25-year-old was among the unsung heroes on the NFL’s top-ranked defense, as he and fellow defensive linemen took on multiple blockers so linebackers like Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower could clean up plays at or behind the line of scrimmage.

Butler’s impact on the front seven was felt, and the Patriots depicted that by putting a healthy, yet logical, price tag on him, likely indicating they want him in their future plans. After all, the Patriots defensive line could look very different in 2020, and keeping Butler could limit those changes.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Friday reported that when the Patriots tender an offer to Butler, a restricted free agent, “the expectation is that it will be the 2nd-round level.”

In this case, the Patriots had the option to put a first-, second- or original-round tender on Butler. Since Butler was an undrafted free-agent out of Vanderbilt in 2017, an original-round tender would mean if Butler received an offer from another NFL team, the Patriots would not receive any compensation for it.

The second-round tender, however, means if Butler receives an offer from another team, not only would the Patriots have five days to match, but they would receive that team’s second-round pick should they chose not to.

The second-round tender is reported to be worth approximately $3.29 million, which is a stark contrast from the $645,000 Butler earned in 2019, the final year of his rookie contract.

All told, it makes Butler’s likelihood to return quite high, which is a good thing.

Since joining the Patriots in 2017, Butler has played in all 16 games each season. He’s made eight starts including two during the 2019 season where he recorded 26 tackles, nine quarterback hits, eight tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks and five passes defensed.

Butler had 15 quarterback hits, 14 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in the last three seasons.

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Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images