The New England Patriots entered the 2018 offseason with a long list of free agents, including starters in all three phases of the game. Among the most notable names on the list is cornerback Malcolm Butler, who was a three-year starter for the Patriots but is expected to leave New England after playing not even a single defensive snap for the team during its loss in Super Bowl LII.
Given his pedigree, Butler will draw plenty of attention on the open market. One of the teams to take a look at the soon-to-be 28-year old will be one of the Patriots' fiercest rivals. According to Newsday's Calvin Watkins, the New York Jets have expressed interest in bringing the unrestricted free agent cornerback into the fold:
Hearing Jets will look into signing CB Malcolm Butler. With everything it’s all about the price.
While Butler is coming off an uneven season that ended in the worst possible way, he has been a reliable defensive back since becoming the unlikely hero of the Patriots' Super Bowl XLIX victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Consequently, he will likely command considerable money on the open market – not exactly top tier dollar like Josh Norman, Xavier Rhodes or Patrick Peterson but a notch below.
With the way Butler's season ended, it seems unlikely that he will get that in New England. However, he could get the deal he is looking for in New York, with a Jets team that is currently projected to be more than $70 million under the salary cap. If the Patriots' AFC East rivals – or any other team – pay Butler like one of the top 15 cornerbacks in the league, he might net New England a third or fourth round compensatory draft pick next year.