Unsigned tender kept Malcolm Butler out of Brandin Cooks talks

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While the Patriots may have indeed considered the possibility of trading cornerback Malcolm Butler to the Saints after signing cornerback Stephon Gilmore, that consideration never actually became action for one very important reason: Butler hasn’t signed his restricted free agency tender.

Coach Bill Belichick historically has had a high level of sensitivity regarding trade discussions involving a player who is subject to a tender offer that has not yet been signed. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Butler’s decision not to sign his tender kept the Patriots and Saints from seriously exploring the prospect of adding Butler to the deal.

Eight years ago, Belichick made clear his disdain for discussing trades of players who have not yet signed tender offers, regarding the possibility of acquiring former-and-present Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers.

There’s no trade talks going on with Carolina,” Belichick said at the time.  “They don’t have a signed contract.  They can’t talk about trading a player that isn’t signed.”

When it comes to the playing rules, Belichick has a habit of interpreting and applying them aggressively. When it comes to CBA provisions regarding tender offers, Belichick has been very careful not to give the NFL Players Association any ammunition for arguing that the tender was not made with a good-faith intention to employe the player at the amount of the tender for the upcoming season.

Of course, if Butler were to sign the tender offer, he could then be traded. But he wants a long-term deal. Apparently, Butler’s camp isn’t willing (or able) to accept the difference between a player who hits the market unfettered and a player who still has one year to play before becoming an unrestricted free agent. The biggest money goes only to truly unrestricted free agents, or to franchise-tagged players who parlay the amount of the tag (and the promise of a 20-percent raise the following year) into a long-term deal. Butler won’t be getting Gilmore or A.J. Bouye money for at least a year. And he likely won’t be getting it from the Patriots, given the investment they have made in Gilmore.

60 responses to “Unsigned tender kept Malcolm Butler out of Brandin Cooks talks

  1. Too bad. I wanted him here for much longer.

    Let’s give it one more whirl, Malcom!

    Wherever you end up in 2018, you will have a legion of fans in New England.

  2. .
    All Butler has to do is look at teammate Logan Ryan’s pay.

    2013 Player Cash Earnings $968,252

    2014 Player Cash Earnings $515,000

    2015 Player Cash Earnings $605,000

    2016 Player Cash Earnings $1,671,000

    4 seasons $3,759,252

    2017 Player Cash Earnings 10,000,000
    .

  3. It’s hard to blame Malcolm for digging in now. He just turned 27. In a league where there are almost no starting corners over the age of 30, having to wait until 28 before hitting free agency makes it unlikely anyone is going to give him a deal longer than 2 or 3 years. For a player that’s made league minimum his whole career, this is his only shot to get paid.

    Would love to see him stay on the Pats, but the key to Belichick’s success is to not pay for past performance, only what the player is worth in the future. Doesn’t seem like it’s going to work out.

  4. If the Pats were to pay him UFA money this year then every Pats player going forward would want the same–why doesn’t Butler understand the system? He has a choice to take less money now in a deal and be protected from injury or gamble on UFA next year.

  5. I’m curious to know how much it would cost for Butler to buy an insurance policy to protect him in the event of an injury this coming season which prevents him from getting a lucrative deal when he is an unrestricted FA next year.

    This assume of course that he ends up playing this year on the restricted tag, which might not happen. His other alternative is to hold out and try to force a trade.

  6. I hope the Patriots don’t trade him. Keep him on the tender and then franchise him for a year. You get two years at an average reasonable rate. Getting back the #32 pick in the first round should take a back seat to keeping a very good corner.

  7. They tried to get a long term deal done last summer. Butler refused. So they don’t even contact Butler this off season about an extension and decide to RFA him for 2017. They signed Gilmore to a $65 million contract and now are switching to a physical man to man. Don’t forget they traded for Eric Rowe from the eagles last October and he started in the super bowl, covering Julio Jones in the super bowl pretty well. So Butler will hit UFA next year and he won’t be starting this year. He will be a slot, 3rd comer back just like he was in the Seahawks super bowl. Good luck with your “big pay day” next March Malcolm…coming off a season where you didn’t cover the number 1 or 2 WRs in 2017. BB made you…and now he will make sure you don’t get paid if bucks for screwing around last summer.

    I bet Malcolm gets a new deal done by The end of fall 2017….once he remembers he was working at Popeyes before BB saved him.

  8. I honestly don’t think this deal is dead. Butler hasn’t signed his tender and won’t. Imo he will sign an extension and then be traded to New Orleans for the 32nd pick. He will not be playing in Foxboro next year. If possible fans ask themselves and answer honestly why would butler sign a tender with them when they just insulted him with a massive contract offer to another db from another team?? He is on hisbway out.

  9. I hope Belichick reads PFT because he might not have any idea as how to properly use Butler as a player or his true value to the team in a trade.

  10. They’re gonna keep Butler and pay Hightower. And the rest of the league along with the PFT will melt down like ice cream on the sun.

  11. Or Gilmore might stink and get cut and Butler still winds up paid. We’ve all seen the hot FA corner arrive on the scene only to see that the lousy team he came from made him look better than what he truly was.

  12. He is being poorly advised by a rookie agent. Malcolm: ask your agent what happens in 2018 if you don’t sign the tender at all and petulantly sit out a season… (hint: he doesn’t know)

  13. Butler has an Agent who has never represented anyone before. That’s the problem and I am afraid Butler is going to cost himself money because of his and his Agent’s ignorance.

  14. “Butler has an Agent who has never represented anyone before. That’s the problem and I am afraid Butler is going to cost himself money because of his and his Agent’s ignorance.”

    Correct. He is a personal injury lawyer who is doing sports management “as a hobby”. Seems clear he wants a big payday for himself out of Butler’s deal, and doesn’t have a clue about what he’s doing.

  15. Butler’s agent already started flapping his gums about contract negotiations.

    IMO, its over. He will be traded after he signs his tender, probably to NO.

  16. Only Belichick truly understands Belichick. Which makes it difficult to cut a deal with him. But beyond that, there probably isn’t a scenario that he has not already considered completely and has made provision for. He probably knows of at least 10 different ways of getting to the Supwebowl and is ready for each and every one of them.
    Belichick reminds me of a modern day GPS system that is constantly updated by existing traffic/road conditions/construction delays/accidents etc not just on the road he’s on but on the road that every other team is on as well. He’ll make strategic changes to what he is doing based on the cost of a gallon of gas you will have to pay two months from now. The guy is phenomenal. Pretty sharp mind right there.

  17. Feeling sorry for this dude. He got taken advantage of the Pats ownership. Pay your own Superbowl hero instead of these hired guns!

  18. He’s not the most talented corner in the NFL, but no one has worked or played harder than this guy to get to where he is now. It’s unfortunate that he has to wait one more year to gain some long-term security, but that’s just the way the league works right now. Hopefully, he signs his tender and collects his $4 million, and stays healthy during the upcoming season before getting his big payday. There is nothing to be gained by holding out right now. The agent is out his depth.

  19. I love Butler as a player but the timing is terrible for him.

    If he does not sign the tender they cannot move him.

    If he waits to sign it they may keep him for next season that is cheap money for a player of his ability.

    At his age he really needs to sign the tender and hope to get traded to a team who will pay him a long term contract now. I’d love to know the numbers that have been hashed back and forth between his agent and the Pats. It could be like Welker, they had offered him a decent contract but his agent thought he could do better, too bad hated to see him go too.

  20. ocgunslinger says:
    Mar 12, 2017 3:21 PM
    I hope Belichick reads PFT because he might not have any idea as how to properly use Butler as a player or his true value to the team in a trade.
    —————

    And Butler too. Both if them should listen to us more.

  21. The Patriots are an interesting org and 99% of that is down to BB. How they keep everything in house and can pay their top players slightly under what they could get elsewhere is intriguing, and in today’s world of agents etc because let’s not forget if a player takes less so does the agent and his business also. So its quite remarkable that they can keep going to the highest of levels over so many years. I have my own views on why players stick and not twist besides wanting to win but that’s another story. But regarding this offseasons buisness they seem to be changing tack and this might put some of their players and their agents that bought into the Patriot way of financial harmony into question. But hey BB always has things under control so who knows.

  22. In a way the Gilmore deal is a slap in the face of Butler, imagine being a loyal soldier and winning super bowls and then hey lets give this contact to an outsider, hey maybe his agent is bumbling things over, but still.

  23. pondbridge says:
    Mar 12, 2017 3:32 PM
    He is being poorly advised by a rookie agent. Malcolm: ask your agent what happens in 2018 if you don’t sign the tender at all and petulantly sit out a season… (hint: he doesn’t know)

    ———————–

    This agent is eager to make a quick name for himself and so he feels the need to get that mammoth contract. But hes not in the position to demand it so hes trying to strongarm the team into something they really dont have to do. The problem is, he has chosen poorly the team and GM to try holding up like that. There is still time to change direction and get a good for both sides long term contract. But if Butler waits and signs the final week of training camp he will start opening day in a Browns uniform.

  24. The Pat’s tried to sign him last year, and reportably
    were very close. Yet he didn’t sign.

    My guess is that was his chance and he will be gone in the near future… possibly next year…

  25. doe22us says:
    Mar 12, 2017 4:07 PM
    In a way the Gilmore deal is a slap in the face of Butler, imagine being a loyal soldier and winning super bowls and then hey lets give this contact to an outsider, hey maybe his agent is bumbling things over, but still.

    ——————-

    Turning down the Pats last year was a slap in their face too. That was not something they had to do so he was mistaken looking the gift horse in the mouth.

  26. “datdude84 says:
    Mar 12, 2017 3:21 PM
    ………. Imo he will sign an extension and then be traded to New Orleans for the 32nd pick”

    I believe NFL rules do not allow the Saints to trade back NE’s 1st round pick that was traded to them in the Cooks trade. Therefore, that pick is not available to trade to the Patriots. New Orleans #11 pick however is and if that was the case, I’d actually be ok with that trade because I believe Butler is worth a #11 pick and much better then the #32 pick. Saying that, I still hope the Pats keep Butler for this season under the tender.

  27. All Butler has to do is look at teammate Logan Ryan’s pay.

    2013 Player Cash Earnings $968,252

    2014 Player Cash Earnings $515,000

    2015 Player Cash Earnings $605,000

    2016 Player Cash Earnings $1,671,000

    4 seasons $3,759,252

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Butler’s pay

    2014 Player Cash Earnings $410,000

    2015 Player Cash Earnings $520,000

    2016 Player Cash Earnings $600,000

    2017 Unsigned Tender $3,910,000

    4 seasons $5,440,000

    2018 UFA set to break the bank at Gillmore type money.

  28. New Orleans can still sign Butler to an RFA offer sheet. They have #11 and #32 in the first round. If they only have to give #32 if the Pats don’t match you can bet the Saints will sign Butler to the offer sheet as soon as they can.

  29. All Butler has to do is look at teammate Logan Ryan’s pay.

    2013 Player Cash Earnings $968,252

    2014 Player Cash Earnings $515,000

    2015 Player Cash Earnings $605,000

    2016 Player Cash Earnings $1,671,000

    4 seasons $3,759,252

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Butler’s pay

    2014 Player Cash Earnings $410,000

    2015 Player Cash Earnings $829,282* (corrected)

    2016 Player Cash Earnings $600,000

    2017 Unsigned Tender $3,910,000

    4 seasons $5,759,282

    2018 UFA set to break the bank at Gillmore type money.

  30. @scituguy

    Of course you would be ok with the #11 pick but that’s not going to happen simply because Butler isn’t anywhere near worth that pick. He’s a good CB…..

    Let’s stop acting like Butler is God. Saints aren’t giving N.E. either of them 1st rounders.

    We’re drafting 2 defensive players with those picks.

    And for the people that keep saying we got “fleeced” hahahahaha. We got 2 draft picks for Cooks, didn’t have to pay him that $781,599 roster bonus he was due, and we got Ted Ginn who will be cheaper and can do the same things Cooks can do…..

  31. No way the Saints got fleeced. It’s a good deal for them because the chances are good they can find a player similar to Crooks with the 1st and 3rd choices NE gave them. NE could also get a good player with the 132nd pick. The Pats get two years of Crooks career at a relatively inexpensive cost, after that he could be too expensive. We’ll see.

  32. saints12013-good point. Both teams got a good deal.

    The definition of teamwork.

    You had our back during deflategate, and we did not forget.

  33. Gatebros.

    But in NO we’re a bit mystified that Brandin Cooks hasn’t said anything about the trade as yet. Is that ordinary for Patriots players on a new signing or trade? He hasn’t even tweeted or received any tweets about it. I’m used to seeing players say something like, “Welcome to the team,” or what have you. Seems a little odd from our end. What can you guys tell me?

  34. Heck ya we gotta team up and show that Goodell a thing or 2. There’s 3 things certain in life……

    1. Death
    2. Taxes
    3. Pats and Saints doing deals with each other every year. And hopefully many more to rub Rog the wrong way…….

  35. I won’t call out the poster by name but make no mistake, Belichick didn’t make Butler, he gave him an opportunity. Butler worked, with help, to make himself the player he is.

  36. But in NO we’re a bit mystified that Brandin Cooks hasn’t said anything about the trade as yet. Is that ordinary for Patriots players on a new signing or trade? He hasn’t even tweeted or received any tweets about it. I’m used to seeing players say something like, “Welcome to the team,” or what have you. Seems a little odd from our end. What can you guys tell me?

    —-/////———//////———-///////———////—

    He is already busy running routes with TB.

    Really.

  37. Welcome to the Gulag/Browns Malcolm .
    Bundled deal with jimmy G for every pick going forward .

  38. Butler’s agent is an idiot. He doesn’t understand what it means to be a RFA. What he should be telling him is to sign the tender ,play out the year and then we break the bank. Just like everyone else.

  39. I feel badly for Butler. I think he’s maybe not the brightest guy off the field and his agent is screwing him over. Bill was smart to sign Gilmore, because it took Butler’s remaining leverage (sitting out) off the table. If I don’t get the 32 or better back, I’d just keep him for the last season then take the comp pick or franchise/trade.

  40. I’m not crying for Butler. They are doing a movie about him and if anyone on that team should get paid more, it’s Jules. I know his contract isn’t up until next year but he plays his heart out. I’d rather see him get a big pay day than Butler! Butler is good but his head seems to no longer fit in his helmet. Not signing his tender is not going to help him any.

  41. HISTORY LESSON…

    When you sign a contract … I.E rookie deal, BB expects you to honor it. That means you play 4 seasons, at the agreed to rate. How many times have we seen this dance between player and coach going into that final season of a contract…???

    Ty Law? Asante Samuel? Logan Mankins? Ty Warren? Richard Seamore? The list is infinite…

    Honestly the Patriots have Malcolm by the short hairs until next season… Why does he think it will be any different for him. I love Malcolm and I pray he stays a Patriot … but I know it gonna happen.

  42. @gisellichek….he isn’t signed to a contract. he’s a restricted free agent, meaning the Patriots have rights to him or compensation, but any team could sign him right now. This also includes many of the players you mentioned. They left over discussions on a new contract, not the one they were under or about to finish. Many RFA’s sign long term deals with their team, which is what Butler was hoping to do. Evidently the Patriots feel that he isn’t worth the money he’s asking.

    Now the fact that he hasn’t signed the tender means that he’s likely pissed Belichick off and will not return this coming season.

  43. ocgunslinger says:
    Mar 12, 2017 3:21 PM
    I hope Belichick reads PFT because he might not have any idea as how to properly use Butler as a player or his true value to the team in a trade.

    —–

    That’s funny. Lots of experts on this site.

  44. tigerlilac says:
    Mar 12, 2017 7:55 PM

    I won’t call out the poster by name but make no mistake, Belichick didn’t make Butler, he gave him an opportunity. Butler worked, with help, to make himself the player he is.
    ———————————-

    Good for him.

    And when he’s finally an unrestricted free agent, he can expect to be rewarded for that. But not before.

    And if he has a problem with that, I suggest that he takes it up with his union rep.

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