Patriots make stunning splash with Pro Bowl corner

Marco Green
March 11, 2017

New England signed the former Buffalo Bills standout to a five-year deal worth $65 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported. The Patriots placed a first-round tender on Butler, which - if Butler signs it - would give $3.9 million for the 2017 season.

Butler is a free agent too, though. Unless those deals go south, the Patriots are pretty stacked across the board. Gilmore will earn an average of $13 million annually, which ranks seventh among cornerbacks, according to Spotrac.

In addition to the news of the Gilmore deal, word around the National Football League is that the Patriots are staying quite busy.

Gilmore is coming off of a career season where he tallied five interceptions in 15 starts. Maybe that changes. Maybe it doesn't. He's expected to make over $14 million a year. And for what Butler provides on the field, "discounted" is an understatement. The Patriots' standard is winning Super Bowls, and not surprisingly they did not capture a Lombardi Trophy during that time. He'll be joined on the roster by tight end Dwayne Allen (who came to the Patriots via trade), defensive end Alan Branch, and safety Duron Harmon; the latter two resigned not long after the Gilmore news broke. Why did he have to "get down with somebody I know" in the form of the hated Patriots.

The Patriots aren't done yet in their quest for more championship jewelry.

However, that trade would be reactionary. Instead, it's more likely that Belichick embraces the control he has over Butler, and if he really wants Cooks, finds another way to acquire him. In theory, the sacrifice of a high-round pick should put a restraint on Butler's offer sheet by driving down his fair-market value. The decision to not franchise tag Gilmore made it all but certain the Bills would not have him in their secondary.

With Gilmore signed for the next five years, Malcolm Butler's future is now in question. Ian Rapport is reporting that New England is willing to pay Gilmore close to that much; over $14 million.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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