Published: Tue, April 25, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

McElroy | Time for the Saints to move on from Malcolm Butler

McElroy | Time for the Saints to move on from Malcolm Butler

Rumors of New England Patriots Malcolm Butler being traded to the New Orleans Saints are becoming thinner by the day.

Butler, a restricted free agent, signed his one-year tender from the Pats last week. Swinging another trade involving Butler (or backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who reportedly isn't for sale) would be the most obvious way for New England to move back into the first two rounds if it wishes to do so.

The Patriots now do not pick until No. 72 after trading away their first- and second-round selections, including sending No. 32 overall to the Saints in the Brandin Cooks deal.

As for Butler and the Patriots, their secondary is stacked with him on board. And had he still not signed by until June 15, New England could have pulled the $3.91 million offer and substituted with an offer of 110 percent of his 2016 salary-which would have come to just $660,000.

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New Orleans was obviously interested in Butler.

Rapoport reports the Saints and Butler have a longterm deal in place in the event a trade gets worked out. They're increasingly rare in the National Football League under this CBA because all draft picks now sign four-year deals with slotted salaries.

As the NFL Draft approaching, a deal between the Saints and Patriots is unlikely according to Peter King of

Butler can skip the offseason program, including next month's OTAs, but those are voluntary anyway. This is how the current CBA more or less did away with contract holdouts. Having Butler on the team in 2017 will give them a great defense, as he can play alongside Stephon Gilmore.

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