It seems pretty easy to be the New England Patriots these days. The defending Super Bowl Champions have already added new players such as cornerback Stephon Gilmore, tight end Dwayne Allen, defensive end Kony Ealy and wide receiver Brandin Cooks this offseason. But there’s also been talk that 2015 Pro Bowl cornerback Malcolm Butler may not be back with the team due to interest by other clubs. Will we see the three-year pro wearing a different uniform in 2017? Never say never when it comes to this organization.

Improving performer

That memorable goal-line interception against Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in Super Bowl XLIX not only ensured that the New England Patriots would walk away with another NFL championship.

It also put Butler in the limelight and the former undrafted free-agent has certainly seized the moment.

In 2016, according to the fine folks at Pro Football Focus, there were only six cornerbacks in the league ranked ahead of the Pats’ defender. The 2015 Pro Bowler finished this past season fifth on the team with 63 tackles and led the Patriots in interceptions (4) and passes defensed (17) and tied for the club lead in fumble recoveries (2). He added 11 tackles and knocked down a pass in three postseason contests. Those four picks of opposing quarterbacks was double his total of his first two seasons combined.

On his way out of town?

So will this Butler be serving another employer in 2017? New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft certainly doesn’t hope so.

And when Kraft was asked by Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald earlier this week if the team intended on trading the 27-year-old corner? “No,” answered Kraft. “I don’t want to, in any way, take away from his rights. I want to be clear. I hope he’s with us.”

In terms of his rights, that was reference to the fact that Butler is a restricted free agent and can still be signed to an offer sheet.

But according to New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, his team won’t be taking that approach. “We can sign him to an offer sheet,” said Payton to Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune,” but I don't think we're going to do that and give up the 11 pick. In fact, I know we’re not going to do that…” That makes sense if you’re the Saints, who have five picks in the first three rounds of April’s draft and could use all the young talent on defense they can get.

All told, it looks like the Butler will still be doing it for Belichick’s team.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!