CSN's Mike Giardi reports the Saints are 'enamored' with Malcolm Butler and that the parameters for a deal between the team and the cornerback are 'mostly' in place.
Don't read too much into silence on Butler front. Focused on Saints. Parameters of deal mostly in place. Some quibbling over guaranteed $$$— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 20, 2017
As for compensation for Butler, can't be discussed until he signs tender but both sides know what it will take to get deal done...— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 20, 2017
Sense i get is there's a bit of a game of high stakes chicken on compensation front, but Saints enamored with player— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 20, 2017
Once the Saints and Butler have reached agreement, the ball goes back into the Patriots' court. They can either match the offer or let Butler go to New Orleans at the cost of the Saints' first-round draft choice. The third option, of course, is that the teams work out a trade, but that's contingent on Butler signing the contract the Patriots tendered him prior to free agency. If he's unsigned, he can't be traded.