If a team wants to make a run at signing cornerback Malcolm Butler as a restricted free agent, they will have to pony up a first-round pick in addition to a new deal for Butler.
According to multiple reports, the Patriots have tendered Butler at the highest level. That was the expected move given Butler’s ability and it would put Butler on the books for $3.91 million next season if he plays out the year on the tender.
The two sides could work out a different contract that would change that number, but Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports that there have been no talks about a longer deal at this time.
Butler burst into national consciousness with his Super Bowl-sealing interception against the Seahawks and has gone on to turn in high-quality work as a starter in every game of the last two seasons. That work would make him a hot commodity on the open market, but it remains to be seen if anyone is willing to force the issue this offseason.