Report: Patriots considering trading Malcolm Butler for Brandin Cooks
The New England Patriots are reportedly considering the possibility of trading star cornerback Malcolm Butler to the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Shortly after the Patriots made a surprising splash early in free agency by agreeing to a deal with cornerback Stephon Gilmore, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that Butler could be on the move.
The New England Patriots are considering trading Malcolm Butler to the New Orleans Saints for Brandin Cooks per sources
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 9, 2017
There is a growing belief that the Patriots’ decision to sign Gilmore could mean the end is near for Butler in New England, but this would be a surprising move. Butler is a restricted free agent, and any team that signed him would have to give the Patriots a first-round draft pick as compensation. If he plays under the restricted free agent tender in 2017, Butler would make just under $4 million.
The Patriots always seem to make it work with whatever wide receivers they have, so you would think Bill Belichick would value having both Butler and Gilmore — even if for just one season — over bolstering the team’s receiving corps.
A previous report claimed the Saints turned down an offer from the Patriots that would have sent a first-round pick (No. 32 overall) to New Orleans for Cooks. It’s unclear if the Saints would want that pick in addition to Butler, but that seems like it would be a lot to give up for New England.
Cooks is said to be unhappy with his role in Sean Payton’s offense, and some awkward activity on social media recently made it seem like his days in New Orleans are numbered.