Malcolm Butler will come at a steep price if the New Orleans Saints want to acquire him.
"If Saints want Butler, it would be for their pick, 11th overall. You decide if that trade happens," Michael Lombardi tweeted on Sunday. Lombardi is a former Patriots assistant and current NFL analyst for The Ringer.
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Some thought the Saints would try to trade for Butler with the 32nd-overall pick, which the Patriots sent to New Orleans in the trade for Brandin Cooks. However, Butler is a restricted free agent, and has yet to sign his first-round franchise tender, which means the Patriots cannot include him in trade talks, per NFL rules. The Saints will have to place an offer sheet on Butler. If the Patriots elect not to match that offer, Butler would go to New Orleans and the Saints would send their first round pick, the No. 11 selection, to New England.
Butler was in New Orleans visiting the Saints last week, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. They were negotiating a potential contract.
If Saints want Butler, it would be for their pick, 11th overall. You decide if that trade happens.— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) March 19, 2017
Butler, a three-year veteran, has not missed a game in the last two NFL seasons. In 2016, he had 63 tackles, 17 pass deflections, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one sack.