FOXBORO -- Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium gave reporters their first opportunity to see both Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore on the field at the same time.
Once Gilmore signed with the Patriots earlier this offseason, there was no guarantee he'd actually team up with the 27-year-old in his fourth season out of West Alabama. But Butler wasn't given an offer sheet by the Saints or anyone else, he wasn't traded, and now together they make up one of the most talented cornerback duos in the NFL.
"Um, nothing much really," Butler replied when asked for his initial reaction to the Gilmore deal. "Nothing much really. We got a better player. We got another player. We got another good player on this team. Anything to help the team win, I'm down with."
Depite the fact that Gilmore is the one who received the big-money contract from the Patriots earlier this year, Butler had nothing but good things to say about his teammate following Thursday's workout.
"He brings the size and the coverage skills," Butler said. "One of the best guys in the league. Very underrated. [He's] come in, head down, working hard. Just trying to build off each other no matter what."
Butler acknowledged that the corner group, which also includes Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones, has some work to do when it comes to their communication, but he indicated he'll be happy to chip in wherever he's needed. The Patriots could use some help in the slot following Logan Ryan's departure to Tennessee, and Butler said he'd be open to playing inside.
"Wherever they put me, I'm gonna play that role," he said. "I'm ready to play the slot if that's what it is."