Malcolm Butler will miss Patriots' voluntary workouts

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.   Maddie Meyer  Getty

Malcolm Butler has signed his tender from the New England Patriots, opening the door for a potential trade.

The Saints never planned to sign Butler but they appear to be interested in a possible trade for the 27-year-old cornerback.

The tender carries with it a first-round level pick and a salary of $3.91 million for the 2017 season.

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The Patriots also signed exclusive rights free agent tight end Matt Lengel and released offensive lineman Tre' Jackson.

This removes the opportunity for Butler to sign as a free agent with another organization. "If you do bring Malcolm Butler aboard you still expect him to play not only at a Pro Bowl level, but an All Pro level". Saints head coach Sean Payton confirmed as much during the annual league meetings in March by saying, "I don't think we're going to do that and give up the 11th pick". If Buffalo does not decide to match, then New England will have to send over a fifth-round pick as compensation for Gillislee's tender.

As of now, Butler figures to line up opposite Gilmore in what should be one of the NFL's most talented secondaries, if not the best.

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The Patriots don't have a 2017 draft pick until early in the third round (No. 72 overall).

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was asked several times about Butler at his pre-draft news conference on Tuesday, but declined to tip his hand.

The Patriots' other home opponents in 2017 include the Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

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