BOSTON (CBS) — Malcolm Butler is a Patriot again.
Now we’ll see if it stays that way.
Butler has reportedly signed his restricted free agent tender with New England, but according to ESPN’s Field Yates, a trade is still on the table for the cornerback.
Butler was given a first-round tender by the Patriots earlier this offseason, but the two sides could not work out a long-term extension. Butler was reportedly frustrated with the Patriots after they signed corner Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million deal on the first day of NFL free agency, which prompted his agent to find potential suitors on the trade market. His camp denied those claims, and it was later reported that Butler preferred to remain in New England.
The Patriots signed Butler as an undrafted free agent in 2014, and he would go on to play in 11 games that season. An afterthought with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner at the top of the cornerback depth chart, Butler saved New England’s fourth Super Bowl victory by picking off Seattle’s Russell Wilson at the one-yard line in the final minute of the game.
Butler replaced Revis atop the depth chart the following season and has started all 32 games since. In 43 regular season games, he has six interceptions with 36 passes defended, often drawing the opposing team’s top receiving threat. Butler has more than held his own in those situations, often keeping big-play wideouts in check.