Malcolm Butler, Cardinals Agree to 1-Year Contract After Titans Release

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 25, 2021

Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) plays against the Baltimore Ravens in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

Cornerback Malcolm Butler has agreed to a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The 31-year-old is entering his eighth NFL season after four years with the New England Patriots and three with the Tennessee Titans, who informed the defensive back of his release on March 9.

Butler is best known for his game-saving interception of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with seconds left in Super Bowl XLIX to preserve a 28-24 win.

The then-rookie played with the Pats for three more years, all as a full-time starter. He made the Pro Bowl after the 2015 season and ultimately amassed 44 passes defended and eight interceptions from 2015-2017. However, his tenure ended in a highly questioned Super Bowl benching in which he saw limited action during the Pats' 41-33 upset loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Feb. 2018.

The Titans broke the bank for Butler, inking the defensive back to a five-year, $61,250,000 contract.

Butler's three-year term in Tennessee yielded mixed results. Per Cameron Pezet of Pro Football Focus, he allowed 100 yards or more in coverage three separate times during the first half of the 2018 season, but he finished strong by allowing just a 40.4 passer rating on balls thrown his way in the second half. He ultimately allowed seven touchdowns in his coverage, per Pro Football Reference.

A broken wrist ended Butler's 2019 season after just nine games, but he finished his Titans tenure strongly in 2020 and ultimately finished with the 27th-highest cornerback grade from PFF between 2018-2020.

Ultimately, his release was a cost-cutting maneuver: Tennessee will save over $22.5 million in cap money by releasing him now, per Over the Cap.

Butler likely still has something left in the tank, though, after amassing 100 tackles, four picks and 14 passes defended last year. This is a good move for Arizona as it looks to shore up its secondary.

He can also step into the secondary and immediately fill the void left by Patrick Peterson, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings.