Malcolm Butler signs franchise tender, can get traded

Posted April 20, 2017

Caserio's answer could reveal a little bit about the Patriots draft strategy.

Malcolm Butler has finally signed his Restricted Free Agent tender. "In fact, I know we won't do that".

The Saints and Patriots have also worked together in the recent past with the latter acquiring Brandin Cooks in a trade last month. His camp denied those claims, and it was later reported that Butler preferred to remain in New England. However, that's unlikely to happen.

As Doug Kyed of NESN noted, no offer sheet has been made, and the transaction allows the team to discuss trades.

With the tender signed, Butler can no longer seek an offer sheet with another team. Trading Butler is an obvious way to get that pick back.

The Pats now do not pick until the top of the third round (No. 72 overall).

Are we supposed to believe Bill Belichick, who has uncharacteristically spent this offseason shopping as if it were his own personal Black Friday, is done making deals?

Another scenario is holding on to Butler for this season and pairing him with Gilmore in what would be one of the NFL's better 1-2 combinations.

The team announced Tuesday that cornerback has signed a new deal. How quickly those positions come off the board will determine how aggressive the Patriots become with their trade chips. Although none fall in the first two rounds, New England will have some flexibility in the middle rounds.

(It's possible they trade him after the draft in a player-for-player swap or for 2018 picks, but that scenario seems unlikely).