New England Patriots: Malcolm Butler is high-risk, high-reward free agent

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Malcolm Butler (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Malcolm Butler (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Recently, Pro Football Focus released their Top 5 high-risk, high-reward free agents. For the New England Patriots, Malcolm Butler made the list.

One player that will always be a Super Bowl hero for the New England Patriots is cornerback Malcolm Butler. With a loss seeming like a certainty against the Seattle Seahawks a few years ago, it was Butler who came up with one of the greatest interceptions in Super Bowl history.

At the time, Butler wasn’t much of a factor for the Patriots, however, that interception really kick-started his career. After that, Butler became a starter and a very good cornerback for the Patriots. In 2016, Butler had the best season of his career, as he was one of the top cornerbacks in the league.

Despite the great season in 2016, the Patriots didn’t give Butler an extension as a restricted free agent. With a first-round tender being placed on him, it would have been a long shot for him to sign anywhere.

Sine Butler didn’t get a contract last offseason, he will be a free agent this offseason. Recently, Pro Football Focus named Butler a high-risk, high-reward free agent. Here’s what they had to say about him.

"Malcolm Butler was on the fast track towards ‘shutdown’ corner status until the wheels came off this past season, culminating in a head-scratching benching in the Super Bowl. While his play certainly wasn’t bad enough to warrant benching, he’ll have to repeatedly explain what went into that decision to potential suitors this offseason."

Due to the shocking benching in the Super Bowl, Butler will have a lot of questions to answer from teams this offseason. In addition to that, he did have a bit of a down season in 2017 compared to 2016.

According to Pro Football Focus, Butler was ranked as the 53rd among cornerbacks with a 79.2. overall grade. While it wasn’t a bad season for Butler, it was a significant drop from the season before.

Next: Pros and Cons of keeping Mike Gillislee

Even though there are some question marks surrounding Butler, he is one of the top cornerbacks in free agency this offseason. However, he certainly fits the bill as a high-risk, high-reward player this offseason. With some struggles on the field and some questions off of it, Butler likely won’t be receiving a contract as large as he had originally hoped this offseason.