Patriots

Tom Brady had this message for Malcolm Butler after Super Bowl heroics

Tom Brady had this message for Malcolm Butler after Super Bowl heroics

No one was more happy after Malcolm Butler's game-winning interception at the end of Super Bowl XLIX than New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The NBC cameras captured Brady jumping up and down with a smile on his face and falling into the arms of his offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. 

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The Super Bowl victory was a long time coming for Brady. He and the Patriots hadn't won a Lombardi Trophy since the 2004 season, and in that 10-year span they lost twice to the New York Giants in heartbreaking fashion. It appeared New England was set for another excruciating Super Bowl defeat until Butler saved the day with his interception of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at the goal line.

NBC Sports Network showed a replay of Super Bowl XLIX earlier this week, and Butler joined the broadcast. He provided some great insight into what happened that night, including a message Brady had for him following the dramatic win.

“On the film, after the Super Bowl, he's telling me, ‘Malcolm, are you kidding me?'” Butler said on the NBCSN re-broadcast Tuesday night. “But I think, later on, after the game, he told me, ‘You finally caught one that counts.’ Because I used to pick him off in training camp, somewhat, and that was my first interception. He hit it on the head with that one. I finally caught one that counted. It really counted.”

In one of the NFL Films documentaries on the 2014 Patriots, Butler is seen during Super Bowl week practice going through the exact play he intercepted Wilson on. He saw the play in practice, so he was prepared when it came up in a game situation.

Butler, to this day, is still surprised the Seahawks didn't just give the ball to star running back Marshawn Lynch at the goal line.

"Well, yeah, I can't believe they didn't hand it off to him," Butler admitted. "They should've handed it to him. But we called goal line three corners (defense), so I guess they were trying to go the opposite way. It just backfired. It was a good play, I just wanted it more."

Brady wound up winning Super Bowl XLIX MVP, and he would claim one more Lombardi Trophy with Butler in Super Bowl LI before the talented cornerback left the Patriots as a free agent in 2017. No matter what Butler does for the rest of his career, that interception to win Super Bowl XLIX will be his signature play.

NFL Rumors: How Patriots stayed under salary cap with Cam Newton deal

NFL Rumors: How Patriots stayed under salary cap with Cam Newton deal

The New England Patriots entered last weekend with just $651,000 in cap space, the lowest amount of any NFL team.

So, how the heck were they able to sign a former NFL MVP?

It's a fair question after New England reportedly inked free-agent quarterback Cam Newton to a one-year contract Sunday. We discovered more details on Newton's deal Wednesday, per reports: He has a base salary of $1.05 million ($550,000 of which is guaranteed) with incentives that can bring his earnings up to $7.5 million.

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According to Boston.com salary cap expert Miguel Benzan, the Patriots have $263,489 in available cap space following Newton's signing. If you're wondering how Newton's deal cost New England less than $400,000 in cap space, Benzan would like to refer you to the "Rule of 51."

The "Rule of 51" in the NFL's collective bargaining agreement is pretty straightforward: During the offseason, only the players with the 51 largest cap hits for the season are counted toward the salary cap.

Newton's deal -- which carries a $1.14 million cap hit, per Benzan -- bumps practice squad defensive lineman Tashawn Bower out of the top 51, meaning his $750,000 deal currently doesn't count against the cap.

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So, the Patriots effectively replaced Bower's contract with that of Newton, a difference of just under $400,000.

The "Rule of 51" only applies to the offseason, so Bill Belichick may have to do more maneuvering before the regular season begins. But as Benzan recently pointed out, Newton's incentives could be classified as "not likely to be earned," which means they wouldn't count against New England's 2020 salary cap even if he reaches them.

In any case, it's remarkable (or "disgusting," if you ask Richard Sherman) that New England was able to land a three-time Pro Bowl QB like Newton for such a discount.

The 31-year-old was hampered by shoulder and foot injuries over the last two seasons, though, which apparently scared other teams away before the Patriots swooped in Sunday.

NFL rumors: Salary details of Cam Newton's Patriots contract revealed

NFL rumors: Salary details of Cam Newton's Patriots contract revealed

The New England Patriots aren't spending a whole lot of money to bring Cam Newton to Foxboro.

Reports surfaced Sunday night that the Patriots and the veteran quarterback had agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden contract worth up to $7.5 million. 

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Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Wednesday the financial breakdown of Newton's contract with the Patriots, including the base salary, guaranteed money and incentive totals.

The Patriots didn't have much salary cap space before this move. In fact, they recently had the lowest amount of available cap space in the entire league. So, for them to be able to acquire Newton and not have to spend a ton of money or cap space is pretty extraordinary.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Newton's contract is that the Patriots could franchise-tag the 31-year-old quarterback next offseason. It gives New England more options in the event Newton has a strong 2020 season.

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There's not a ton of risk with this move, and it could end up being one of the best roster additions of Bill Belichick's 20-year tenure in New England if Newton is able to stay healthy.

Newton is a former league MVP (2015) and has been one of the most exciting quarterbacks to watch throughout his nine-year career. The last time he played close to a full season was 2018, when the former No. 1 overall draft pick threw for 3,395 yards with 24 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. Newton also ran for 488 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns in those 14 games.

If he produces similar or better statistics in 2020, the Patriots should have a strong chance to extend their playoff appearance streak to 12 seasons.