The legend of Malcolm Butler began at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. when he picked off Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at the goal line to hand the New England Patriots a Super Bowl XLIX championship. Now, the veteran cornerback will be heading back to that same field on a more permanent basis to continue writing the chapters of his NFL career. The Arizona Cardinals announced on Thursday that they've come to terms with Butler on a one-year contract. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Butler's deal for the 2021 season is worth up to $6 million.
With longtime Cardinals corner Patrick Peterson departing the organization earlier in free agency for the Minnesota Vikings, Arizona was in desperate need of some help in the secondary, and Butler should be able to provide just that. He likely projects at the Cardinals No. 1 corner, which is a role he's familiar with from his days with the Patriots and Titans. Tennessee cut Butler loose earlier this offseason due to cap reasons as he was set to account for $14.2 million against the Titans' total for this coming season.
In 2020, Butler totaled 100 tackles, defended 14 passes, and tied a career-high four interceptions over 16 games (all starts). When targeted, the 31-year-old allowed a 63 completion percentage and a passer rating of just 93.2.
While this move helps the club for 2021, the Cardinals will likely look to continue adding to their secondary. They can still search through the free agent market and look for a long-term option at the 2021 NFL Draft later this spring. In his latest mock draft, CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso has the Cardinals selecting Virginia Tech corner Caleb Farley at No. 16 overall.