DANNY PICARD: So, we all still have our eyes on the Malcolm Butler situation. And some people are just waiting for him to get traded. I actually don’t think he is going to get traded. But how do you think this is all going to play out?
MIKE GIARDI: Yeah, I do think he’s going to get traded. I would put the chances of a return to the Patriots pretty slim. I think the idea that people have thrown out about him taking the risk and playing under the $3.91 million tender and then hitting unrestricted free agency is a massive risk, especially when he and the New Orleans Saints had some good productive conversations and set up some parameters of a deal. So I think he has a pretty good idea of what the guaranteed money is in that deal, should he sign it. I think one of the delays here may be the compensation factor. Obviously, the Saints do not want to part with that 11th overall pick and then turn around and pay Butler $40-$50 million with $20 million-plus guaranteed. TO make something like that happen, I think that’s what you’re looking at. And I also think this is a complicated sheet to draw up, and you’re doing it with an agent who’s never had to do anything like this before. So it’s probably a little bit more complicated than I think anybody was led to believe at the beginning.
DP: We’ll get back to the complication of this process, because when people tell me it’s a long process, I counter that by saying, well, it’s more of a difficult process. That’s how I would describe it, based on the things New Orleans would have to do to do to get Malcolm Butler. But before we get back to that, can we rule out this idea that there was some sort of handshake agreement that Butler was going to New Orleans as an eventual part of the Brandin Cooks trade? Can we rule that out?
MG: Yeah, I don’t really buy that. I think his name certainly came up in trade talks initially, but there was too much there. They’re not just going to cough up Brandin Cooks with the hope that it will help land them Malcolm Butler later on. I think that’s kind of nonsensical.
DP: Look, the first-round tender on Butler is not fair to the kid, but rules are rules. If I’m the Patriots, I don’t step back from that No. 11 overall pick. If the Saints and Butler do agree to a deal, if I’m the Patriots I say, “Well, the rules are the rules. You have to give us No. 11 overall.” And I would not step back and make some sort of trade that doesn’t involve that pick.
MG: I do not see them giving up that pick. I think the way the Saints are looking at this offseason, they’re saying to themselves, “With the 11th pick, we have an opportunity to get somebody who can really influence our defense and can be under our control for the next five years, and maybe we can send No. 32 overall back to the Patriots along with something else.” Getting Butler is getting a high-quality player, and all of a sudden, you’re getting two guys to influence a defense that has some pieces, but has not been able to consistently put it together. I know what the rules say, and I think this is part of the process of making this all happen. How do you make this work, and how do you satisfy the Patriots in this draft for this player, without giving up the 11th player?
DP: Is Butler truly unhappy, or is he just out there playing the game?
MG: Yeah, I think he’s unhappy. He goes back to last spring being unhappy with the contract. So I don’t think that that’s necessarily any surprise. The point is, the guy played his ass off. He played in 99 percent of the plays. He played at an elite level. I just think he’s a really talented player. I just think that they’ve gone too far down the road with these conversations, and too far down the road of, “You did what? You gave Stephon Gilmore what? I know I’m restricted and he’s unrestricted, but man, that just doesn’t seem right to me.” I think that those hurt feelings that some people say are patched up, I think they’re still very much real and I think there’s still a lot of emotion on his side about how this all went down.
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