Malcolm Butler signs tender with New England Patriots: Here's what comes next

Posted April 20, 2017

Like Gillislee, Butler signing his restricted free agent tender doesn't necessarily mean he will appear in a Patriot uniform in 2017. The New England Patriots cornerback has signed his restricted free agent tender, according to multiple reports.

Butler could not be traded until he signed the $3.91 million tender for the 2017 season.

With it becoming clear no team would sign Butler to an offer sheet - the deadline is April 21 - he made a decision to sign the contract, which now gives the Patriots an opportunity to discuss a trade with other teams. While the Saints may not be interested in trading away the 11 pick in the draft, they still have the 32, and 42 picks at their disposal.

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Saints coach Sean Payton said at the National Football League meetings last month the team plans to add two cornerbacks this offseason and showed his interest in Butler. He visited with just one team, the Saints, during free agency. The one time over the past three years the final pick of round one wasn't traded, it was held by the Patriots.

So look to the offensive line, the defensive front seven, and at strong safety as the Patriots make their picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. The two teams have been in discussion for over a month on ways to get Butler to New Orleans. The Patriots reported to Gillette Stadium yesterday for the start of their voluntary offseason workout program, so Butler's absence (similar to someone like Alan Branch) is not a holdout.