Once Stephon Gilmore signed a long-term contract with the Patriots at the start of the free-agency period, some saw the deal as handing a new player money that should have been Malcolm Butler's.
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Butler is a restricted free agent at the moment who has yet to sign his first-round tender worth $3.91 million. Though he's in the process of seeing if there's an offer sheet that's going to come his way from another franchise that fits his asking price, there's a chance he ends up in New England for 2017.
Might that make for an awkward scenario in the team's cornerbacks room? As far as Gilmore is concerned, the answer seems to be a resounding "no."
He was asked multiple times about Butler during an introductory conference call with locak reporters on Monday.
"I don’t know what’s going to happen with that, but I’m looking forward to it," Gilmore said of playing with Butler. "He’s a great player. He’s made a lot of good plays in the league. So I would love to team up with him and play with him."
Should Gilmore and Butler end up in the same defensive backfield along with safeties Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon, the Patriots would easily boast one of the most talented secondaries in the NFL.
Gilmore explained that he's watched Butler's rise from afar and respects the way he's built a name for himself after entering the league as an undrafted rookie.
"Obviously, he came in the league undrafted, so he came in and grinded his way up to the top," Gilmore said. "And he’s made a lot of good plays in the league, so you’ve got to respect him as a player. He’s made a lot of great plays on big stages. I definitely respect him as a player.
"Playing in this league, you’ve got to have a strong mentality playing at the corner position, and I think he has that. He has that fight in him. That’s one thing that sticks out from watching him. He always comes back. If you get him, he always puts it behind him and makes plays the next play."