NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans intend to sign former New England Patriots corner Malcolm Butler to a five-year, $61 million deal with $30 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Despite being benched before this year’s 41-33 Super Bowl 52 loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, the All-Pro defensive back cashed in on the kind of contract he sought from his former employer. Butler was a restricted free agent one year ago and was assigned a one-year, $3.91 million tender by New England coming into 2017.
The Patriots instead signed Stefon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million contract that offseason.
Butler comes to Tennessee surrounded by New England transplants. Titans general manager Jon Robinson, new head coach Mike Vrabel and cornerback Logan Ryan are all Patriot products. Robinson served as Bill Belichick’s director of college scouting at the time that both Butler and Ryan were brought into Foxborough and the undrafted free agent played a crucial role in part of New England’s recent success.
In his comments following taking a seat for Super Bowl 52, Butler told ESPN.Com’s Mike Reiss, “They (New Endland) gave up on me. F—. It is what it is.”
“I don’t know what it was,” Butler went on to say to the media of his benching. “I guess I wasn’t playing good or they didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t know. But I could have changed that game.”
Prior to inexplicably playing only one special teams snap in this year’s championship game after starting at corner for Belichick the entirety of the regular season, Butler made the play to intercept Russell Wilson’s infamous goal line pass and secured the Patriots Super Bowl XLIX victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The undrafted free agent out of West Alabama then assumed the role of the top corner in Belichick’s defense for the remainder of his time with the team.
Tennessee’s defense will have a different look as the it transitions to the Vrabel regime. The Titans have young talent with Ryan, Adoree’ Jackson and Kevin Byard already in place; it will be interesting to see how new coordinator Dean Pees will deploy them with Butler set to be added into the mix.
Under Dick LeBeau, Tennessee finished 2017 ranked 13th in yards allowed but averaged 239.3 passing yards per game (25th).