Butler could see nice bump in pay with first-round tender set at $3.9 million


Butler could see nice bump in pay with first-round tender set at $3.9 million

Malcolm Butler is in line for a raise, and now that we know where the restricted free agent tender values sit, we have an idea of just how significant that raise will be. 

PATRIOTS FREE AGENCY: Curran on Pats' plans, plus position-by-position breakdown

Per ESPN's Field Yates, the first-round restricted free agent tender is worth $3.91 million. Meanwhile, the second-round tender sits at $2.746 million, and the original-round tender is $1.797 million. 

Butler, who will become a restricted free agent when the new league year begins on Mar. 9, likely will be tendered by the Patriots at the highest level. That will mean a better than 600 percent increase in salary for the 27-year-old who made $600,000 in 2016. 

Should the Patriots tender Butler before the Mar. 9 deadline, he'll still be able to field offers from around the league. If he were to sign an offer sheet elsewhere, and if the Patriots opted not to match, New England would receive a first-round pick in return.

Though it would be somewhat of a surprise for a player who's been tendered at the highest level to receive an offer sheet from another club -- usually the threat of losing a first-round pick is a deterrent for teams in the market for free-agent help -- it's also unusual that a player of Butler's caliber hits restricted free agency.

The hero of Super Bowl XLIX, he was named a Pro Bowler in 2015, and there is a case to be made for him as one of the game's five best players at his position.

As such, the $3.91 million he'd be paid on the first-round tender would still represent a bargain for the Patriots. In terms of average annual salary, it would make him the 34th highest-paid corner in the game, placing him just behind Chicago's Tracy Porter ($4 million), according to

Butler and the Patriots can still work out a long-term extension before the new league year begins on Thursday. Other restricted free agents the Patriots could tender between now and then are backup offensive tackle Cameron Fleming and tight end Mike Williams. 

Search continues: Scarnecchia pops up at Notre Dame for look at McGlinchey

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Search continues: Scarnecchia pops up at Notre Dame for look at McGlinchey

The effort to replenish the tackle depth the Patriots boasted last year will not stop with the re-signing of LaAdrian Waddle. That much was clear when Dante Scarnecchia was spotted at Notre Dame's pro day on Thursday.

The Fighting Irish offense featured two of the top offensive linemen in the country last season in guard Quenton Nelson and tackle Mike McGlinchey.

Nelson is expected to be a top-10 selection and some believe him to be the best player in this year's class regardless of position. The Patriots probably won't have a shot at him. And they're OK at guard. Scarnecchia (and national scout DuJuan Daniels) were in all likelihood there to scout McGlinchey more thoroughly. 


The 6-foot-8, 312-pounder is considered by many to be the top tackle in this year's draft. McGlinchey spent two seasons on the right side, backing up current Ravens tackle Ronnie Stanley, and he spent the last two seaons on the left. He's thought to be a very good athlete for his size, but he may have some issues with "bull rushers and power at the point of attack," according's Lance Zierlein. 

But even with the blemishes that may show up on his tape, McGlinchey could go in the top half of the first round if a team gets desperate. Or he could slide. It seems a slide to the Patriots would be unlikely but not impossible. That's why the Patriots did their due diligence on the player who may be the only NFL-ready tackle in the draft.

Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage made that very point on Quick Slants the Podcast soon after the NFL Scouting Combine finished up. 

"It's definitely become a challenge," Savage said of finding pro-ready tackles. "We've always focused and talked about how the spread offenses in college have affected the quarterbacks, but in reality, it's impacted all of the positions, quite frankly. 

"You look at the offensive line nowadays and most schools are building what I call a five-man unit where there's no real distinction between the left tackle versus the right tackle versus the right guard versus the left guard. They're all kind of the same because they play as a unit. There's not as much of a premium placed on that left tackle as a standalone pass-protector...

"This year, amazingly enough, I really only had one tackle [with a first-round grade following the combine, and that's [Notre Dame's] Mike McGlinchey. There's a couple of interior linemen like Will Hernandez from UTEP and Quenton Nelson from Notre Dame that are likely to go in the first round. But as far as just a tackle. Wow. It's staggering to think that there could only be really one tackle to go in the first round this year."

The Patriots have a variety of routes they could take in filling the left tackle void filled by Nate Solder. They could try to figure out a way to get McGlinchey in house. They could go with Waddle. They could flip Marcus Cannon to the left side and use Waddle on the right. Maybe a second-year player -- Antonio Garcia? Cole Croston? -- will surprise and force the team's hand.

Whatever they choose, the search for tackles isn't over. And given how difficult it seems to be for teams around the league to find serviceable ones, it could last a while.



Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

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Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

Johnny Manziel said 10 days ago, "I'd go to New England in a heartbeat," when asked about the Patriots as a potential landing spot.

That seemed like wishful thinking at the time, but they're taking a look at him...along with 12 other NFL teams, according to ESPN's Eric Williams. 

Tom Brady's current backup Brian Hoyer is, like Manziel, an ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback. Manziel would again be competing with Hoyer for the Pats' No. 2 job should New England take a chance on "Johnny Football", the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, who's been out of football the past two years because of substance abuse and emotional problems.

FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman had it at 12 teams watching Manziel work out at the University of San Diego and said the Patriots gave Manziel a weigh-in.