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2018 NFL free agency rumor: Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler draws interest from Raiders, Saints, Texans, Lions

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The early market appears to be developing nicely for Butler.

Los Angeles Chargers v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New England Patriots have a long list of players about to hit the open market once free agency starts on Wednesday. Among them is cornerback Malcolm Butler, who was a starter on the team for (most of) the last three seasons but is not expected to return to New England after his unexpected benching in Super Bowl LII. And according to reports, two teams have already expressed interest in him soon during the legal tampering period.

According to NBC Boston Sports' Mike Giardi, the Oakland Raiders have Butler on their radar:

Raiders have expressed interest in Malcolm Butler and are also expected to release CB Sean Smith.

ESPN's Dianna Russini followed with a report that the New Orleans Saints, who have already shown interest in Butler when he was a restricted free agent last year, are also taking a look at the 28-year old:

Remember when the Saints and the Patriots almost made a trade for Malcolm Butler? I’m told there is new interest in getting him to New Orleans as a Free Agent, but they also have their eyes on veteran corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

With the Patriots not expected to retain Butler, a healthy market that develops early would actually be good for the team: The more money the hero of Super Bowl XLIX will get from a team, the better New England's chances of getting a third round draft pick next year as part of the NFL's compensation formula. The team currently does not own one after trading for Cleveland Brown defensive tackle Danny Shelton.

[UPDATE 03/12, 2:00 pm ET]: The Houston Texans have also reached out to Malcolm Butler, per Mike Giardi.

[UPDATE 03/12, 5:48 pm ET]: The Detroit Lions, the new team of former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, is also interested in Butler, according to Mike Giardi.