The New England Patriots reportedly thought very hard about trading Super Bowl 49 hero Malcolm Butler. But in the end, his return only strengthens what should be an improved secondary.
Despite nearly getting traded by the New England Patriots leading up to the NFL Draft, cornerback Malcolm Butler showed up to voluntary OTAs on Monday. Butler’s arrival signals yet another key player who looks to be “all-in” on the team’s goal of winning a sixth Super Bowl.
With the signing of fellow corner Stephon Gilmore, there was speculation Butler could be dealt to the New Orleans Saints. But a trade did not happen prior to or during the NFL Draft, giving Butler the opportunity to return. He had signed his tender with the team as a restricted free agent. As an undrafted free agent, Butler had other reasons not to pay attention to the NFL Draft last weekend.
Now that Butler is back in the fold, the Patriots should be even stronger in the secondary. He could have handled the trade speculation one of two ways. Fortunately for New England, he took the high road by arriving at OTAs earlier this week.
Butler will likely retain his starting job, only this time it will be opposite Gilmore. Logan Ryan left via free agency to sign with the Tennessee Titans when news broke that the Pats were signing Gilmore. New England ranked 12th in pass defense last season and first in scoring defense.
Defensive line also looking to improve during rookie mini camp
In other news regarding the team’s defense, it was reported on Thursday that former second-round pick Ego Ferguson will get a tryout during rookie mini camp. Ferguson was originally drafted by the Chicago Bears with the 51st overall pick in 2014. He was cut by the Bears on March 31.
The irony of the situation is that Ferguson was drafted ahead of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who New England selected 11 picks later in the second round. Chicago was reportedly interested in trading for Garoppolo this offseason. But the Bears ultimately settled on free agent Mike Glennon and took Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.