BOSTON (CBS) — For the third time in a week, a former Patriots player who cashed in somewhere else has been let go by his new team. This time, it’s Malcolm Butler, who was released by the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the news, noting that the Titans will save $10 million in cap space with the move.
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— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2021
Butler, 31, is obviously famous for making arguably the most memorable play in Super Bowl history, when he picked off Russell Wilson at the goal line in the final minute of Super Bowl XLIX. An undrafted rookie out of the little-known West Alabama, that play elevated Butler to star status, and he spent the next three seasons establishing himself as a top corner with the Patriots.
His time with the Patriots ended on a sour note, of course, when Bill Belichick benched him for Super Bowl LII against the Eagles. The Patriots lost that game, after allowing Nick Foles to throw for 373 yards and three touchdowns (while catching another), and Butler shortly thereafter became a free agent.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
Butler signed a five-year, $61.25 million deal with Tennessee, a deal which came with $24 million fully guaranteed. He recorded nine interceptions — returning two for touchdowns — while recording 35 passes defensed, one sack, and 201 total tackles in 41 games played with Tennessee.
Now, Butler has been released after being paid roughly $35 million of that $61.25 million contract, becoming a free agent in the process.
The Butler move continues a trend of sorts of former Patriots not playing out the entirety of their new deals with other teams. Kyle Van Noy left the Patriots a year ago to sign a four-year, $51 million contract to play for his former defensive coordinator, Brian Flores, in Miami; the Dolphins are currently trying to trade him. If a deal can’t made, he will be released.MORE NEWS: Celtics core group makes their statement with series win over Bucks
Likewise, tackle Trent Brown left the Patriots after winning Super Bowl LIII in his lone season in New England. He signed a four-year, $66 million contract with the Raiders, but was dealt this week back to New England after playing just two of those four seasons. In doing so, he agreed to take a reduced salary in 2021 and will now become a free agent next year.