Peter King of TheMMQB.com, citing someone familiar with their thinking, reports that the Saints are “leaning toward” keeping their top three picks as opposed to trading them for Patriots CB Malcolm Butler.
King adds that the Saints are still interested in Butler, but believe their board between No. 25 and No. 75 has a “slew of players capable of contributing immediately, with grades close to each other, and the thought of dealing one or more picks for Butler, then paying him a huge contract, is less attractive than it once seemed.”
Last we heard regarding this situation, Jason La Canfora reported that the Saints and Patriots are expected to continue exploring a potential trade involving Butler in the coming days, but it’s hard to say if they’ll be able to figure out trade compensation.
Last week, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com mentioned that he believes there’s a “pretty decent chance” the Patriots trade Butler between now and next Thursday’s draft.
According to Breer, there are some parallels between what transpired with WR Brandin Cooks and the Saints and what’s happening with the Patriots and Butler. Breer mentions that New England and Butler no longer appear to be a perfect match, due in part to the fact that contracts talks between the two parties have gone nowhere.
If the Saints were to offer the No. 32 overall pick to the Patriots for Butler, Breer believes New England would see this as a good idea.
Butler officially signed his restricted tender with the Patriots, which opens the door for a potential trade. The tender will cost the Patriots $3.91 million for the 2017 season.
Butler, 27, wound up signing on with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama back in 2014. He played out the final year of his rookie contract.
In 2016, Butler appeared in all 16 games for the Patriots and recorded 63 tackles, one sack, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and 17 pass defenses. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 7 cornerback out of 112 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding a potential Butler trade as the news is available.