Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler’s name came up as part of a potential trade on Thursday as New England is reportedly considering a deal that would send Butler to the Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
That report came after the Patriots agreed to terms with former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore on a deal that will pay him an average of $13 million a year. The two things taken together suggest the Patriots are moving away from a long-term commitment to Butler, who is tendered at the first-round level as a restricted free agent this year.
If there has been a change of heart, Butler’s agent Derek Simpson said that it isn’t because of any recent contract talks.
“The Patriots haven’t approached Malcolm about his contract since last year, and anything that says he keeps asking for the moon is completely false,” Simpson said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.
The “asking for the moon” mention may be in reference to former Patriots employee and Bill Belichick friend Mike Lombardi, wro wrote in a piece for The Ringer that Butler is “is looking for the moon and then some” in a long-term deal with the Patriots. There are plenty of moving parts to work out in a trade, but the chances of Butler talking to a different team about a contract certainly seems likelier today than it did before the start of free agency.