BOSTON (CBS) — Malcolm Butler has begun shopping his services in earnest.
According to The Associated Press, the restricted free agent cornerback will be visiting the New Orleans Saints on Thursday. Saints head coach Sean Payton informed the AP of the news.
Butler, 27, is currently in a bit of a dispute with the Patriots, who placed the first-round tender on him this offseason. The Saints — and any team — are free to make a contract offer to Butler, but the Patriots have the opportunity to match the contract.
If the Saints do make an offer and the Patriots do not match, then the Saints would have to send their first-round pick to New England. That pick would be No. 11 overall.
Last week, the Patriots and Saints were rumored to be discussing a trade of Butler for receiver Brandin Cooks. Later in the week, however, the Patriots acquired Cooks in exchange for a first-round draft pick (No. 32 overall) and a swap of third- and fourth-round picks.
If the Saints were to sign away Butler, then the Patriots would be in position to make their highest draft selection since taking Jerod Mayo 10th overall in 2008.