Last year, Malcolm Butler was one of the bright spots on the Patriots, one of the studs and team leaders. Sure, he had his bad moments, but he was the best corner and one of the best defensive players on the team. And now, Butler’s playing time has been cut and he could be on his way out.
The Butler Situation could be perceived as Jaime Collins-esque, but there are a lot of differences between the two. Collins had just played a stellar game against the Texans and was starting to make progress back to his old self, when out of nowhere, while we were all going about our lives, Bill schemed and traded him. It caught so many of us off-guard and it left people wondering why? They were in the middle of the title run, and it looked like Bill might have screwed it up. Then, reports came out saying Collins had been ignoring assignments and was kind of toxic in the locker room, information Bill was privy to that we were not. So while we all criticized Bill for it at the time, it looked like the right move for the team.
Butler hasn’t looked like his old self. It looks like he doesn’t care, but he should, because he wants a big contract at the end of the year; he should be playing his tail off. If he wants multiple teams bidding for him so he can make the most money, then he should be trying to prove to the NFL that he is worth the money, not just the Patriots. He should be trying to do better than last year, even if the Pats don’t want him.
We have to wonder if Bill is cutting Butler’s time to signal other teams that he’s available and preparing his team for life without him? Or, was it more to light a fire under Butler and get him going, to start making plays like he used to? I think it’s the first, honestly. Bill is looking to see what life would be like without him, since they have some good quarterbacks on the schedule.
Reports of Butler being traded have been swirling around since the offseason, and now his playing time has been cut. This can’t be good for Butler if he truly wants to be here, but does he really want to be here? My guess is no, since we screwed him in the offseason by not paying him and paid Gilmore instead.
From what I’ve heard, the Patriots love Butler as a competitor, but not so much as raw talent. That is why he went undrafted. Then, when they found somebody who has almost the same competition level and intensity as him but had more talent, sign them up. That was Gilmore. Also when Eric Rowe is playing the way he is, he makes Butler kind of redundant, and therefore, expendable. So my thinking isn’t really if they will trade Butler, it’s more when. When will they trade this kid, what will they get in return, and how will it affect the team’s chemistry?