Things might have just gotten slightly more awkward between the Patriots and Malcolm Butler

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that Butler’s agent, Derek Simpson, is now contacting other teams and asking them to sign his client. The catch here is that Butler is a restricted free agent who was given a first-round tender, which means that if he’s signed by another team, that team would have to give a first-round pick to the Patriots. 

La Canfora has reported that the Patriots would actually be OK if Butler were to sign with someone else because that would give New England a first-round pick in this year’s draft. Currently, the Patriots don’t have a first-round pick because they traded it away in the deal for Saints receiver Brandin Cooks

Butler is having his agent look around because the corner doesn’t feel like he’s going to be paid what he’s worth in New England. According to La Canfora, the 27-year-old is looking for “Stephon Gilmore” money, which means Butler wants a new deal that will pay him roughly $13 million to $14 million per year. 

The problem for Butler is that the Patriots just signed Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million contract, making it unlikely that they’ll give Butler a similar deal this offseason. 

If Butler’s agent can’t find a team willing to give up a first-round pick, then Butler will have to sign his first-round tender in New England. Once the tender is signed, that will guarantee Butler a total of $3.91 million for the 2017 season, which is way lower than his asking price, but way higher than his 2016 salary of $600,000. 

Butler could also get a raise if another teams makes an offer and the Patriots match it. 

The Patriots could also trade Butler, but that can’t happen until he signs his tender. For Butler, the problem with signing the tender is that once he does that, his agent can’t negotiate with other teams. 

Basically, if Butler signs the tender, he leaves himself at the mercy of the Patriots, a team that has been unwilling to open up negotiations on a new contract. 

“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 told on March 9

If Butler does sign the tender, the Patriots seem open to trading him. According to, Butler’s name came up in the Cooks deal, but the Patriots couldn’t trade him because he hadn’t signed his tender. If he does sign the tender, the Saints and Patriots could still work out a trade for Butler, according to ESPN.

Over the past two seasons, Butler has started in all 32 regular season games that the Patriots have played in. The defensive back, who signed with New England as an undrafted free agent in 2014, is best known for picking off Russell Wilson at the 1-yard line on the Seahawks’ final offensive play of Super Bowl XLIX.