BOSTON (CBS) — Malcolm Butler’s situation only intensified when it was reported that the Patriots’ restricted free agent cornerback is visiting the New Orleans Saints. Butler was the subject of trade rumors between the Pats and Saints at the beginning of free agency, and now it appears that the rumors may become a reality.

CSN’s Mike Giardi joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Wednesday to talk about the latest with Butler and his future in the NFL. It appears that he could be headed to New Orleans in a trade once he agrees to sign his first-round RFA tender worth $3.9 million. Although Butler reportedly wants to be a “Patriot for life,” Giardi’s read on the situation – as he said on Twitter on Tuesday – is that he is beginning to like the thought of playing for the Saints.

“He’s warming to the idea of playing down there [in New Orleans],” said Giardi. “It’s close to home. It’s a quick little shot up the road for him to go home.” Butler’s hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi is about the same distance from New Orleans as Boston is from New York City.

[graphiq id=”8s6Dtkl2kCx” title=”Malcolm Butler Career Salary by Season” width=”600″ height=”594″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/8s6Dtkl2kCx” link=”http://football-players.pointafter.com/l/23864/Malcolm-Butler” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

As for free-agent linebacker Dont’a Hightower, the Patriots still appear the favorites to re-sign their defensive captain. The market didn’t materialize for Hightower like he expected as a free agent, but he does appear to have a big-money offer on the table from the New York Jets. His decision is expected on Wednesday.

Giardi still expects Hightower to take less money to stay in New England, but it would be hard for him not to be disappointed in the contract he ends up getting.

“Hopefully cooler heads prevail and [Hightower] realizes [New England] is still the best situation for him, but there is that pride factor that comes into play here,” said Giardi. “It’s going to be hard to walk through that door knowing what you set out to do and now you’re going to get less, maybe significantly less, than you initially thought.”

Giardi also talked about what he saw when he watched game film of new Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Listen to the full podcast below:

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