New England Patriots sign Mike Gillislee, re-sign Malcolm Butler

New England Patriots sign Mike Gillislee, re-sign Malcolm Butler

Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler signed his restricted free agent tender today to take the next logical step in the layered process of finding his home for the 2017 season.

New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (21) intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (83) during the second half of NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. Signing the tender means Butler will make more money this coming season with 3.91 million. In fact, I know we're not going to do that. It's no secret that the Saints are looking to improve their secondary, but New England seems unlikely to part with one of their top defensive backs for anything less than a first-round selection. He visited with just one team, the Saints, during free agency.

The Patriots also need to look at edge defender and linebacker, with Kony Ealy and Kyle Van Noy free agents after 2017 and Rob Ninkovich getting older, and at strong safety with Patrick Chung getting older, too.

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That would ostensibly make the deal Cooks and a fourth-rounder to the Patriots in exchange for Butler and a third-rounder.

At this point, the Patriots have seven picks to work with when the party gets started on April 27.

Bill Belichick's decision ultimately rests on New England's chances of re-signing Butler after the 2017 season. Butler's fate is likely to be known by the end of the month.

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