Malcolm Butler Returns to Patriots Workouts Amid Trade Rumors Before Draft

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2017

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Cornerback Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots has an Interception against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Al Pereira/Getty Images

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler returned to the team's offseason activities this week after skipping workouts prior to the 2017 NFL draft amid trade rumors.

On Wednesday, Field Yates of ESPN confirmed Butler was back on the practice field. Kevin Duffy of MassLive noted he originally reported to the facility Monday.

Ben Volin‏ of the Boston Globe added the corner is "all in" with the Patriots for 2017.

Butler was originally linked to the New Orleans Saints as part of a potential blockbuster deal involving wide receiver Brandin Cooks. He couldn't be included in the eventual deal because he was a restricted free agent not under contract when the Pats acquired the offensive weapon for a package of picks.

The 27-year-old hero of Super Bowl XLIX, which he clinched with a late interception of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the Pats' 28-24 win, signed his one-year tender in April. He's now eligible to be traded but still seeks a long-term deal.

In March, his agent, Derek Simpson, told Mike Reiss of ESPN.com any speculation about his contract demands wasn't based in facts.

"The Patriots haven't approached Malcolm about his contract since last year, and anything that says he keeps asking for the moon is completely false," Simpson said.

Meanwhile, Butler relayed his side of things to ESPN's Josina Anderson at the same time.

"I'm just going with the flow. I can't tell the future," he said. "I'm just a cornerback. I'm not a general manager."

Unless something changes in the next few months, it appears Butler will at least open the 2017 season on the Patriots roster. It gives the team one of the league's best cornerback tandems after it signed Stephon Gilmore away from the AFC East rival Buffalo Bills in free agency.

That being said, with Butler set to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason and so much money already sunk into Gilmore's deal, a trade will likely remain on the table through the deadline. The asking price is uncertain, especially with this year's draft now in the rearview mirror.