Malcolm Butler Focused On Winning, Being A Dad Amid Contract Situation

New England Patriots defensive lineman Alan Branch tosses his gloves to a fan after their 26-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in an NFL football game Sunday Dec. 4 2016 in Foxborough Mass

The Patriots announced that Super Bowl XLIX hero cornerback Malcolm Butler had signed his restricted free agent tender with the deadline coming this Friday.

However, New England is still open to trading him, according to Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio.

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Butler couldn't be traded until he signed his tender, with interest in him likely to diminish after the National Football League draft, which takes place on April 27-29.

With the tender signed, Butler can no longer seek an offer sheet with another team.

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With a potential trade involving Butler, the Patriots may seek to pick up some early-round draft picks in addition to any players involved in such a move.

The Patriots could now deal Butler. This is an interesting development since the Patriots do not pick until No. 72. The Patriots traded first and third-round picks for Cooks, a second for Ealy, and a fourth for tight end Dwayne Allen. But it doesn't preclude the Patriots from keeping him in 2017, either. The two teams have been in discussion for over a month on ways to get Butler to New Orleans. A trade of Butler before the 2017 NFL Draft would accelerate the compensation by two years, and it would likely provide better draft compensation.

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With the draft just over a week away, there could be more rumors between now and then, but it appears Garoppolo will be spending another season backing up Tom Brady in New England.

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