Malcolm Butler, Saints reportedly making progress in contract talks
Malcolm Butler was in New Orleans to visit with the Saints on Thursday, and it sounds like the two sides hit it off.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Butler and the Saints discussed a possible long-term contract and there was “momentum” toward getting a deal done.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2017
Butler is a restricted free agent, which means the New England Patriots could match any offer sheet he signs with another team. They could also allow Butler to walk, which would result in New England receiving a first-round draft pick from the team Butler signs with.
A third option — and perhaps the likeliest outcome — would be Butler agreeing in principle to a long-term contract with the Saints and then signing his tender with the Patriots. New England could then trade the Super Bowl XLIX hero to the Saints, likely for a slightly cheaper price than the No. 11 overall pick New Orleans would have to give up by signing Butler outright.
With the Patriots having signed Stephon Gilmore to a five year deal that includes $40 million guaranteed, there’s a good chance the 2017 season will be Butler’s final in Foxboro if he stays. If the report we heard about Butler’s negotiations with the Patriots last offseason is true, it makes sense that he would be ready for a fresh start.