Butler's four-year payout with tender would exceed that of other Class of '14 stars


Butler's four-year payout with tender would exceed that of other Class of '14 stars

It appears as though Malcolm Butler has no plans of playing in New England next season on the first-round tender, worth $3.91 million.

He's scheduled to visit the Saints on Thursday -- and there may be other trips coming -- in the hopes of receiving a lucrative long-term offer sheet. Even if he doesn't receive an offer sheet, he can negotiate the terms of a deal and then hope to be traded. 

He wants to be paid, and why wouldn't he? 

But for a player in his position, there are worse things than playing for a shade under $4 million. In fact there are well-established players who came into the league at the same time Butler did, in 2014, who wish they were about to see the pay day that Butler will get if he plays on the tender.

The $3.91 million one-year salary alone will pay Butler more than Pro Bowl receivers Jarvis Landry and Allen Robinson (both second-round picks) will make over the course of their four-year careers through 2017. It's more than Jimmy Garoppolo and Kony Ealy (also second-rounders) will receive for their four years of service.

If he plays on the tender, Butler's four-year earnings of $5.44 million will exceed those of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who was taken at the top of the second round in 2014 at No. 36 overall.

Not bad for someone who never heard his name called on draft weekend three years ago.

Of course Butler's road to get to more than $5 million in earnings was not nearly as smooth as it was for someone like Carr. The corner's salaries in the first three years of his career were $420,000, $510,000 and $600,000. None of it was guaranteed. Carr was gifted a signing bonus of $2.23 million and was guaranteed $3.31 million, according to Spotrac

Butler has certainly out-played his contract to this point -- the argument could be made that he's a better player than any of the Class of '14 players listed above. And if he was irked by the Patriots signing Stephon Gilmore to a contract that will pay $13 million annually, that's understandable. He's human.

But there are plenty of players who have outplayed their deals through three years who have had to wait one more for their big-money deals. It may not be fair, but in the NFL fairness is relative when it comes to player contracts.

As a restricted free agent, Butler at least has the benefit of combing the league for offer sheets. And even if he doesn't get one, he'll be playing for a one-year salary that many accomplished players from his class would covet.

It could be worse.

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater has signed a two-year deal to return to the team, according to an ESPN's Mike Reiss.

Slater had made a free-agent visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. The seven-time Pro Bowl special teams ace, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. Slater, one of the veteran leaders in the locker room, signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots traded with the Oakland Raiders for kick returner/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson earlier this week to bolster their special teams.


Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

A new catch rule is coming to the NFL.

So, controversies such as the Jesse James' touchdown reversal in the Steelers' loss to the Patriots in December and the Kelvin Benjamin call in the Bills-Pats game a week later likely would have resulted in upheld TDs under the new rule.

According to the Washington Post, Troy Vincent, the NFL VP of football operations, said competition committee members plan to propose getting rid of portions of the rule related to a receiver going to the ground while making a catch and to slight movement of the football while it’s in the receiver’s hands. Vincent also said the committee also intends to raise the bar by which an on-field ruling of a catch could be overturned via replay review.

That apparently was what was done in Super Bowl 52, when the Eagles' Corey Clement's juggling TD catch was not overturned via replay. 

“We worked backward,” said Vincent told the Post. “We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule.”

The rule modifications could be approved by the competition committee as early Tuesday, the Post reported, and owners will meet next week in Orlando to vote on it. Rule changes must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 franchises. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been pushing for the catch rule to be modified.