Taylor McCloud — Pats Militia
As of late, I’ve been calling back to previous blogs with far more frequency than usual. Why that is? I’m not sure. If I had to guess, I’d say that because the offseason is less eventful than the regular season, I’ve had more time to speculate, and with more speculation comes more opportunity to revisit said speculation.
Now, if you’ve been following the blog all offseason long, you’ll know that I have been very vocal about Malcolm Butler. First and foremost, I wanted the Patriots to give him an extension. But because that hope was dashed, I changed my focus. Instead of keeping Butler locked up for years to come, I simply wanted the team to keep him around for at least one more season. I did not want the team to deal him in some sort of trade. And today, it looks like that wish will be granted.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 24, 2017
(via Around The NFL)
The Saints were hot after Butler early in the restricted free-agent process, even holding a visit with the corner.
The price tag to bring Butler to New Orleans, however, could be more that Sean Payton and Co. are willing to pay.
The MMQB’s Peter King reported Monday that the Saints are leaning towards keeping their first three picks (11, 32, 42), per a source familiar with the team’s thinking. Per King, the Saints believe the depth of the draft could land them several Day 1 contributors between picks 25 and 75. The Saintsseem to have soured on the thought of dealing one or more high picks for Butler, and paying the corner a long-term, big-money contract.
Despite the fact that Butler visited New Orleans earlier in the offseason, and despite the fact that he apparently agreed to a multi-year contract with the Saints, it looks like the Patriots’ asking price for the cornerback is just too much.
I mentioned calling back to previous blogs in the first paragraph, and here’s why — I already wrote that giving up multiple picks and a ton of money for one player is something the Saints would not want to do.
To trade for Butler, they would (most likely) have to include a first-round pick in a package sent to the Patriots. Then, to lock up Butler for the foreseeable future, they’d have to spend a boatload of money. The Saints, or any other organization for that matter, would not want to pour those types of assets into one player.
The Saints, a team that’s been barely treading water for the past couple of seasons, are not going to mess with their future in order to acquire Butler. Even though he’s a true number-one corner and would bring something different to New Orleans’ struggling defense, it’s simply not worth it.
And honestly, this is a win-win situation for both organizations.
One one hand, the Saints will be able to take multiple players in the first round of this weekend’s draft and keep a big chunk of their available cap space free. On the other, the Patriots will now be equipped with one of the best secondaries in football.
Last season, Pro Football Focus ranked the secondary (Butler, Logan Ryan, Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung) as the third best secondary in the National Football League. I don’t know if you know this, but that’s good. And, if you take out Ryan and replace him with Stephon Gilmore, it gets even better. That makes me giddy.
The NFL should already be afraid of the team Bill Belichick has constructed, and this should make it even worse for them. In this Butler situation, The Hoodie held all of the cards, and he didn’t give a single one up.
He knew it wasn’t necessary to pay Malcolm Butler any more than $3.91M this season, so he didn’t. The Saints weren’t able entice him into pulling the trigger on a deal, so he didn’t.