Another team in Malcolm Butler mix: #Texans.— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) March 14, 2017
Source said they're interested in sending 2nd-rd pick to NE if can get Butler signed long term
Butler is currently under a first-round tender from the Patriots, meaning if the Texans signed him themselves, they would have to send the 25th-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to New England. As the offer stands now, Rick Smith is only willing to send the 57th-overall pick (second round) to the Patriots for Butler, and only under the condition that they are able to sign Butler to a long term deal.
Conversely, if the Patriots decline that offer and elect to keep Butler this year, he is free to sign anywhere else he pleases next offseason as an unrestricted free agent. His assumed contract, if the current cornerback market is anything to go by, would more than likely net New England a third round compensatory pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
While not nearly as valuable as a second round pick in this 2017 class, which is positively loaded with corner prospects that could replace Butler in the long run, keeping him on the team this season and settling for a third round pick two years from now would give the Patriots a very, very strong secondary for 2017. Every remaining year with Tom Brady at the helm is a window for a Super Bowl run, and Bill Belichick might not be willing to gut his entire secondary for only one draft pick. Expect the final trade price to be much, much higher than what Rick Smith is willing to pay.
So to recap, the Patriots can take any of the following options as compensation for Butler (assuming other teams play ball, of course).
1. Let Butler sign a contract elsewhere and collect a first round pick this year (highly unlikely).
2. Accept only a second round pick for this year from the Texans and trade away Butler along with his new long term deal (also unlikely).
3. Keep Butler on a cheap contract for 2017, let him sign somewhere else in 2018, and then get a third rounder in 2019 (reasonably likely, considering New England already lost Logan Ryan this offseason to the Titans).
4. Accept whatever big offer the Saints are putting together, which almost assuredly will be more than just the second round pick that Houston has put on the table (the most likely option of all).
What say you, BRB? Would you be okay with the Texans coughing up their second round pick for a proven, veteran cornerback? If you were the Patriots, is that enough compensation to let arguably your best defensive back walk out the door?
Sound off in the comments below. We will keep this post updated with any other developments on Butler to the Texans throughout the day.