BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots have offered a first-round tender to pending restricted free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler just two days before the NFL’s free agency period begins on Thursday at 4 p.m.
The news comes after the Patriots also tendered offers to tackle Cameron Fleming, cornerback Justin Coleman, and tight end Matt Lengel.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald first broke the news on Twitter.
Butler’s first-round tender is worth $3.91 million. If Butler becomes a restricted free agent, any team who would potentially sign him to an offer sheet would now have to send the Patriots a first-round pick as compensation if they declined to match the offer.
The news is significant for the Patriots and Butler – not necessarily because of the first-round compensation, but because the two sides still do not appear close to reaching an agreement on a long-term contract extension. Butler is now likely to hit restricted free agency on Thursday and become a candidate for an offer sheet.