In fact, ESPN’s Saints beat writer Mike Triplett still believes a trade between the Patriots and the New Orleans Saints to be more likely than not to occur.
“I still think there is at least a 50-50 chance they wind up trading for New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler,” Triplett writes. “Of course my confidence has waned a bit over the past few weeks, since those trade talks have gone so quiet. But perhaps all sides will finally be motivated to work out a deal with two big deadlines looming over the next two weeks.”
Triplett notes that Butler, the Patriots, and the Saints “would have to agree to some sort of sign-and-trade arrangement,” as Butler has still not signed his restricted free agent tender, adding that a deal would be “most likely for the No. 32 pick.”
If the trade does not take place before the first day of the 2017 NFL Draft, then Butler will most likely remain with New England for the 2017 season.
The Patriots previously traded their 32nd overall pick and 103rd overall pick to the Saints in exchange for WR Brandin Cooks and the 118th overall pick (which turned into 131st overall pick because the Patriots earliest fourth round pick is forfeit due to the DeflateGate penalty).
If the Patriots flip Butler for the 32nd overall pick, then the basics of the trade would end up being Cooks and a fourth round pick for Butler and a third round pick.