Malcolm Butler is back under contract with the New England Patriots, but that doesn’t mean he feels like showing up for anything classified as voluntary.
Michael Giardi of CSN New England broke the news that Butler won’t show up to workouts soon:
Shocker, right? Butler seems destined to join the New Orleans Saints and until earlier this week had hoped a team would sign him to an offer sheet and steal him away, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss:
Butler had not signed the tender in hopes that another NFL team might sign him to an offer sheet before Friday’s deadline. He visited one team, the New Orleans Saints, earlier in free agency.
Butler putting ink to paper with the Patriots doesn’t mean much for the marriage other than teams like the Saints can now swing a trade for him. When and if that happens is hard to say, but Butler has been quite clear he wants a comfortable long-term deal and understands he won’t get that in New England after the Patriots dropped a big contract on bringing Stephon Gilmore to town.
As Reiss noted, the Saints continue to keep the door open on a trade. The front office has a pair of first-round picks to work with, so a deal between now and the draft, if not during it, wouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
For now, we remain in formality mode, though it’ll get interesting if Butler is still with the Patriots when things start becoming mandatory.