Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
National | By Miranda Cannon

Patriots sign Super Bowl hero Butler, may trade him

Patriots sign Super Bowl hero Butler, may trade him

The former West Alabama standout has delayed signing the tender, as he is trusting that another National Football League club could send him an offer sheet that the Patriots will have to match.

The tender carries with it a first-round level pick and a salary of $3.91 million for the 2017 season.

Butler, a restricted free agent, spent time visiting with Saints in March.

The deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets is Friday. Butler was named to the Pro Bowl following the 2015 season. If Buffalo does not decide to match, then New England will have to send over a fifth-round pick as compensation for Gillislee's tender.

With a potential trade involving Butler, the Patriots may seek to pick up some early-round draft picks in addition to any players involved in such a move. This is an interesting development since the Patriots do not pick until No. 72.

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The Patriots also need to look at edge defender and linebacker, with Kony Ealy and Kyle Van Noy free agents after 2017 and Rob Ninkovich getting older, and at strong safety with Patrick Chung getting older, too.

The Patriots don't need to trade Malcolm Butler, just like they don't need to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

Butler, 27, has played in 43 regular season games with 33 starts, including starts in all 16 games over the last two seasons.

In fact, the main contributors lost from last season's team (Martellus Bennett, Chris Long and Logan Ryan) were replaced by players younger or the same age (Dwayne Allen, Kony Ealy and Stephon Gilmore respectively).

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