The New England Patriots generally do very well in the NFL Draft, but they don’t have a pick in the first two rounds as it currently stands. Will this change?
One of the foremost contributors to the longevity of the New England Patriots is Bill Belichick’s attention to the future. While Malcolm Butler is an enormous factor, as is stands now, 2017 is shaping up to be an extreme departure from the norm.
The team has made an abundance of highly-publicized moves early this offseason. Belichick has dealt his first and second round pick in the upcoming draft. In return he has received Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy, and a third round pick. These moves have resulted in the Patriots’ highest pick being 72nd overall.
This will be Belichick’s 18th draft since taking over as Head Coach of the New England Patriots. In the previous 17 drafts, the team has been without a first round pick just four times. Of those four instances, the team had a combined eight second round picks.
In the 2017 draft the Patriots possess two third round picks, a fourth, two fifths, a sixth and a seventh. Although seven picks is a decent number, it is unprecedented territory for Belichick to be so behind in the draft. It is not unusual to see him trade down in the draft, but this always results in extra picks. At the moment, the Patriots will have just the standard seven picks. Will the team really be content to stand pat?
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With this in mind, it looks all the more certain that Malcolm Butler is out the door. However, he is restricted and cannot just sign outright with another team. For this reason, New England fans should certainly not celebrate if and when Butler signs the first round tender that has been placed on him by the Patriots.
Once he signs the tender, the Saints and Patriots will officially be able to work out a deal. If the Saints put in an offer the Patriots will likely not match and will receive a first round pick as compensation. Either that or the two teams can work out a trade after the tender is signed. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, a first round pick is all the Patriots are looking for.
There is one opposing factor to consider here. Tom Brady is the exception. Belichick always cuts bait with players earlier rather than later. Not with Tom Brady, though. At least not yet. It is reasonable to believe that with anyone but Tom Brady, the player would be out the door and this would be Garoppolo’s team. So is Belichick breaking his own rules and mortgaging the future to capitalize on Brady’s final years?
I wouldn’t count on it. I bring it up because it is possible. However, I’m willing to roll with history here and expect Belichick to ditch Butler and get at least one pick back. While Butler would be a huge piece in 2017, Belichick has already done enough to give Brady a crack at another ring.
For now, no news is good news. The news is coming, however. Malcolm Butler will soon be gone. It is beyond imagination to expect Belichick to forgo a draft choice in the first or second round. He will leave town in favor of a first round pick, which then will likely be turned into multiple lower picks. Business as usual in New England.