The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe has some contract negotiation updates between the New England Patriots and CB Malcolm Butler. These updates make the Patriots look very silly and explain why the two sides have not reached a deal- and why they might not strike a deal moving forward.
Malcolm Butler has received interest from several teams, per source. Don't be surprised if the action picks up with Butler this week.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 13, 2017
All that said, I was given a strong indication Butler prefers to be a "Patriot for life." He wants to make it work in New England.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 13, 2017
Butler is currently looking for other teams willing to trade the Patriots a first round pick in exchange for his services. There are apparently a few teams interested, although the trade value might not be in the same range that would interest the Patriots.
If Butler wants to remain a “Patriot for life,” then the two sides should be able to come to the table to discuss...although it seems like the two parties are extremely far apart from reaching a deal.
Howe has some additional information on the contract that the Patriots offered Butler last season. Butler’s agent says that the Patriots haven’t discussed a contract with Butler in a long time, so perhaps this is the most recent offer the Patriots put on the table.
Patriots offered Butler somewhere around $6M to $7M annually last season. Butler hoped to be paid in the ballpark of a top-10 CB.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 13, 2017
Patriots told Butler last season they wouldn't pay a CB more than $10M annually, so the Gilmore contract was definitely a gut punch.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 13, 2017
That’s a bad look on both accounts.
First off, Butler is worth way more than $6-7 million per year. Assuming the Patriots always intended to place the $3.91 million first-round tender on Butler and that the extension was for roughly five years, then Butler’s contract value from years 2-5 would roughly be a $6.5-7.5 million extension, placing Butler in the 20th-25th average contract range for a cornerback. Butler, a Second Team All Pro, is much better than that.
The only way this offer would be palatable would be if the contract was offered prior to the 2016 season and it factored in Butler’s $600,000 contract for 2016 and his projected $3.91 million tender for 2017, and included three extra years. If that’s the case, then Butler’s new money contract would essentially be a 3-year deal at $8.5-10 million per season. That’s more reasonable, but still shy of the contract that Patriots CB Logan Ryan just received in free agency.
And the fact that the Patriots were unwilling to go beyond $10 million for Butler, yet turned around and gave new CB Stephon Gilmore $13 million per year has to sting. That’s a bad look for the Patriots and their negotiating stance, especially since Gilmore hasn’t played in the Patriots program before.
Butler will continue to try and find a landing spot with a team willing to part with a first round pick for his services. If not, Howe reports that Butler will sign his tender for 2017 and won’t hold out.
If nothing happens with Butler and he remains a Patriot with the $3.91M tender, he doesn't have any plans to hold out.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 13, 2017
If Howe’s read on the situation is correct, we should see more smoke around Butler’s future in the coming days.