A rare player-for-player trade reportedly could be coming when the league year starts this afternoon, although it’s a trade that would require the teams to overcome some significant hurdles.
Dianna Russini of ESPN reports that the Patriots are considering trading cornerback Malcolm Butler to the Saints for receiver Brandin Cooks.
That’s surprising, although it does make some sense given the two teams’ priorities: It’s already been reported that the Patriots want Cooks and are willing to give up significant assets to acquire him, and it’s also been reported that the Saints want to improve their defense and would trade Cooks if it can help them do so. Throw in the fact that the Patriots are adding cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and it suddenly makes a lot of sense that they’d be willing to give up a cornerback if it can help their offense.
However, a deal like this could only get done if Butler, a restricted free agent, is willing to sign either his one-year tender offer or a long-term contract with the Saints. So until that gets done, this trade can’t get done.
If Butler will go along, he could go to New Orleans while Cooks goes to New England.