SOURCE– The New England Patriots assigned the first-round tender on restricted free-agent cornerback Malcolm Butler, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday, essentially taking care of the easy part of his contract situation. Now it gets tricky.
The one-year tender will pay Butler $3.91 million for the 2017 season, which represents a bargain for a cornerback that has played at a top-10 level at his position over the last two seasons. Butler could theoretically sign an offer sheet with another team that the Patriots would have to match, but any interested team would have to give up a first-round pick to nab Butler.
The Patriots and Butler would love to come to terms on a long-term agreement that would keep the Super Bowl hero in town for the rest of the decade, and negotiations on that front could take place later this offseason.
No talks on extension at this time. NO TALKS ON EXTENSION AT THIS TIME!? What the hell are the Patriots doing? Malcolm Butler has done everything you have asked him to do. He has played at an elite level while making $510,000 a year. He has not complained, has not held out. He has done legit everything you could have wanted from him and more. Why not pay a guy like that? Why not make him an example for everyone else on this team that one day wants to get paid, ‘if you play by our rules, we will reward you’. I honestly don’t get it. For a team that is constantly letting talent walk out the door because they don’t want to pay guys, why not show your team that there is hope. That there is incentive to following the ‘Patriot Way’.
I get it, the Patriots have the leverage because he is a restricted free agent. But if there was ever a time to lock up Malcolm up long term for a below market price, this was their chance. To pay a guy not top of the market money, but enough that he would be happy with. And I am not saying this deal won’t get made this summer, but knowing this team and how stingy they are with their cash, it would not surprise me at all if Malcolm plays the whole season without a deal and hits free agency next year and cashes in just like Hightower is about too.