Butler missed last week’s OTA practices, but Howe says his absence wasn’t a big deal.
Over the weekend, Mike Reiss of ESPN reported that Butler has told teammates and friends that he plans to push for a new contract before the start of the 2016 season.
Reiss mentioned that Butler’s decision to skip OTAs last week could be viewed as “a statement to the organization that he’s unhappy with the status quo and/or the movement/specifics of contract talks.”
Even so, Butler has little leverage in his demand for a new contract, given that he only has two years of NFL experience, and Patriots could use either a first- or second-round restricted tender on him next year.
Butler has clearly earned a new contract from the Patriots after making a critical play that clinched a Super Bowl and following that up with a Pro Bowl performance in 2015.
Butler, 26, wound up signing on with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama back in 2014. He’s currently in the final year of his rookie contract and stands to make a base salary of $600,000 for the 2016 season before testing the market as a restricted free agent next year.
In 2015, Butler appeared in all 16 games and recorded 67 tackles, two interceptions, and 15 pass defenses for the Patriots. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 24 cornerback out of 111 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding a new deal for Butler as the news is available.