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2018 NFL free agency: Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler expected to sign with Titans

Butler will join Logan Ryan in Tennessee.

NFL: AFC Championship-Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It looks as if the New England Patriots are losing two of their most important players of the 2017 season in one day (at least theoretically, because both are unable to sign deals before free agency starts tomorrow at 4:00 pm ET): Earlier today, it was reported that Danny Amendola will leave New England to join the Miami Dolphins – now it looks as if cornerback Malcolm Butler will also move on.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the cornerback is expected to sign with the Tennessee Titans:

Former Patriots’ CB Malcolm Butler intends to sign with the Tennessee Titans, per sources. Butler will play for former Patriots’ LB Mike Vrabel and former Pats’ personnel man Jon Robinson.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the trade's details shortly afterwards:

The #Titans are signing CB Malcolm Butler on a 5-year contract worth more than $61M with more than $30M guaranteed, source said. Wow.

Butler originally joined the Patriots as an undrafted rookie in 2014. After seeing minimal playing time early on during the season, he rose to fame by making one of the biggest place in NFL history: Picking off Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to win Super Bowl XLIX for New England. Over the next three years he became a starter and one of the NFL's better cornerbacks.

However, following an up-and-down 2017 season, he found himself benched during Super Bowl LII – a benching that all but guaranteed that Butler would leave as an unrestricted free agent, which he now apparently will do. The deal will likely net New England a high-round compensatory draft pick next year.