Not all is well with the Patriots.
A month after winning the Super Bowl for a shocking fifth time in the Brady-Belichick era, the Patriots were declared unofficial winners of March as well after they reloaded the roster with a monster free-agent outlay and a few typical stealth trades.
But Malcolm Butler, who sealed ring No. 4 with his goal-line interception of the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX and went on to become the team’s star cornerback, is an unhappy camper.
CSN New England reported Butler, a restricted free agent, is “extremely frustrated” by his contract talks with the Patriots — especially considering they just lavished a five-year, $65 million contract ($40 million guaranteed) on cornerback Stephon Gilmore, generally considered an inferior player — and wants out of New England.
CBS Sports reported Butler’s agent has been contacting other teams in search of one that would give up a first-round pick to sign Butler. That is the cost in compensation under the terms of the restricted free agent tender extended by the Patriots. Butler, 27, would make a salary of $3.91 million in 2017 if he signs the tender.
The writing was on the wall last week when ESPN reported Butler’s name being floated in trade talks between the Patriots and Saints. The Patriots eventually pried speedy wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the Saints at the cost of a first-round and a third-round draft pick.
The Patriots are still anxious to re-sign top linebacker Dont’a Hightower, an unrestricted free agent, and keep him away from the Jets, whom he visited Sunday.
Bringing back Hightower — at the expected cost of $10 million per year, per CBS Sports — would expend more Patriots resources that Butler feels should be coming his way.
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