The defending Super Bowl champions could be parting ways with one of their most prominent defensive backs. New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, who intercepted Russell Wilson's pass attempt to Ricardo Lockette near the end zone to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, is reportedly the subject of trade rumors.
The speculation surrounding Butler comes after ESPN reported Thursday that the Patriots agreed to a deal with Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore on a five-year, $65 million contract with $40 million in guarantees. It was an overall busy time for the Patriots, who also re-signed defensive tackle Alan Branch, safety Duron Harmon and blocking tight end Mike Williams.
The addition of Gilmore may mean Butler's best fit might be at slot cornerback or New England can swap him for a wide receiver.
There are reports that the New Orleans Saints may deal star wide receiver Brandin Cooks, and the Patriots and Tennessee Titans are potential landing spots. The Saints need help at cornerback and would likely welcome a Pro Bowl defensive back like Butler, while the Patriots would be adding a 23-year-old wide out who had 78 receptions for 1,173 yards in 2016. There were reports that Cook could be dealt as early as Friday.
New England has not held contract talks with Butler, who is seeking a new contract, according to his agent Derek Simpson. Butler, 27, has until April 21 to sign a deal with another team and the Patriots can match the deal within five days.
"The Patriots haven't approached [Butler] about his contract since last year, and anything that says he keeps asking for the moon is completely false," Simpson said, according to ESPN.