The Patriots have signed cornerback Malcolm Butler to a restricted free-agent tender worth $3.91 million, an agreement that makes him eligible to be traded.
Because he had yet to sign the tender, he was not yet allowed to be a part of trade talks, per National Football League rules. Butler was hoping for the Saints to hand him an offer sheet, but it never came, as New Orleans is rumored to be planning to acquire him via a trade.
After more than a month as a restricted free agent, it was obvious no team was going to give Butler what he was reportedly looking for. In mid-March, it became apparent that even heroes like Butler who have made a tangible impact on New England's dynasty status can fall victim to the Patriot Way. If he does stay, Butler will join newly signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to strengthen what's shaping up to be an unassailable secondary.
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"I would say going into the Ealy situation, he was a player that we actually worked out and we visited here to Foxboro", Caserio said.
Although on the surface it seems like a good thing Butler is signed to his tender, it could mean the end of his time here in New England.
Because of a plethora of offseason moves since the Patriots' thrilling overtime victory over Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, the team's seven draft picks don't begin until No. 72 overall, obtained from the Carolina Panthers. Lengel played in six games with the Patriots in the regular season and all three postseason games, including Super Bowl LI.