Veteran NFL analyst Albert Breer really believed Malcolm Butler’s situation with the New England Patriots is worth monitoring. Breer, who joined a panel of experts at CSN New England to break down the Pats’ 36-20 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, had something to say about Butler’s benching and how it impacts his future with the defending Super Bowl champions.

Is Butler the next Jaime Collins?

According to Breer, Butler’s contract situation is starting to look like the Jamie Collins ordeal all over again. Coming off a Pro Bowl year in 2016, Collins was shipped by the Patriots to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a conditional 2017 third-round pick after they failed to meet his asking price.

The outside linebacker went on to sign a four-year, $50 million deal with the Browns.

“I think this is something to monitor,” Breer said of Butler during Sunday’s post-game breakdown. “I am not saying this is gonna blow up to anything like that but we saw Jamie Collins last year and his contract situation got in his head a little bit, and this guy is the heart and soul player for you over the last couple of years. He’s been kinda who they are defensively and so he’s absolutely worth watching here."

Butler is indeed trekking the same path. After putting up huge numbers (48 tackles and 4 interceptions) last year, the former undrafted cornerback entered restricted free agency with a big payday on his mind.

He received a four-year, $50 million deal from the Saints last offseason, but New Orleans eventually backed down after refusing to yield high picks (No. 11 and No. 32 overall) in a contingent trade with the Pats.

The contract debacle apparently rattled Butler a little bit. He showed solid form in the early weeks of training camp but his performance slowly dipped since the Pats’ second preseason game against the Houston Texans.

Last week, the inevitable finally happened as head coach Bill Belichick placed him on the bench in favor of Eric Rowe.

With Butler’s situation up in the air, Ryan Hannable of said a trade will likely take place soon based on Belichick’s recent moves. “As we’ve seen in the past, instead of letting a player walk via free agency and getting just a compensatory pick, Belichick likes to get something more in return.”

Free Agents workouts

Should they decide to trade Butler, the Pats will make sure that they have plenty of reserves to replenish their vaunted defense.

On Monday, New England held workouts at Gillette Stadium for six free agents, three of which are defensive players.

The Patriots tried out defensive linemen Datone Jones and Jonathan Woodard, wide receivers River Cracraft, Nelson Spruce, and Kenny Lawler, and defensive back Robert Nelson,” according to what Field Yates and Mike Reiss reported Monday.

Datone Jones, a former first-round draft pick (No. 26 overall by the Green Bay Packers), signed with the Minnesota Vikings in the offseason but was released earlier this month due to injury. Another defensive prospect the Pats are taking a closer look at is Robert Nelson, whose punt return experience could really help the Pats after losing Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Cyrus Jones to injuries.