Patriots DE Adam Butler has quietly been proving that he deserves a contract extension.
Despite playing an objectively ugly brand of football, the New England Patriots somehow managed to defeat the Arizona Cardinals at home on Sunday.
Not only did the Patriots lose the time of possession battle by nearly nine minutes (34:08 to 25:52), but they also lost the turnover battle and came up short in total yards, first downs and sacks.
The offense was almost impossible to watch as Cam Newton completed just 50% of his pass attempts (9-of-18) for 84 yards and two inexcusable interceptions, so the defense really deserves credit for making a banged up Kyler Murray look even more uncomfortable in the pocket.
While there were a handful of standout performers, defensive lineman Adam Butler was easily the most impressive of the bunch. It felt like the 26-year-old was wreaking havoc in the backfield on every play, but his greatest contribution (which says a lot) came just before the Patriots’ momentum-swinging goal line stand before halftime.
For a split second, it appeared as though KeeSean Johnson was going to muscle his way into the end zone. Then, however, Butler swopped in and put his colossal 6-foot-5, 300-pound frame between Johnson and the goal line. A few players later, Arizona was stopped on fourth down and the score remained 10-7 heading into the half.
If the Cardinals score seven on either of those plays, it’s reasonable to assume that the Patriots come up short in their comeback efforts. After all, Newton had his worst game of his career from a passing perspective and we’ve seen before that the offense as a whole isn’t built to play from behind.
That’s what makes Butler so valuable to the Patriots’ defense. His yearly stats might not indicate that he makes a huge impact, but we all know that numbers never tell the full story with interior defensive linemen. On Sunday, however, the fourth-year pro was everywhere, compiling one sack, three quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, and a pass deflection that resulted in an interception.
Butler signed his restricted free agent tender for the 2020 season back in April for a reported $3.26 million, which is a sizable boost from the $645,000 salary he was banking on his rookie contract.
If you asked us, we wouldn’t hesitate in asserting that Butler deserves a new contract. We’re obviously not demanding that the Patriots hand him a blank check, but the impact he has in the trenches cannot be understated and deserves to be rewarded.