Malcolm Butler, one of the top cornerbacks in free agency, is off the market.
The former Patriots Super Bowl hero will sign with the Tennessee Titans, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the contract is a five-year deal worth more than $61 million with $30 million guaranteed.
Butler, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent and was , will finally get the lucrative, long-term contract he's been searching for ever since he picked off Russell Wilson at the goal line to preserve the Patriots' Super Bowl XLIX victory and later emerged as the Patriots' top cornerback over the past few seasons. From 2014-16, Butler's average salary was $510,000 per season. In 2017 he earned roughly $3.9 million, which ranked 33rd among cornerbacks. Just last year, the while Butler failed to get the long-term deal he wanted. Now? Butler has joined Gilmore as one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in football.
The Titans, who are and run by ex-Patriots personnel man Jon Robinson, just paid a ton of money for a cornerback who struggled in 2017 -- -- before . Maybe now, with Butler officially out of New England, we'll get the fully story behind that shocking coaching decision.
Butler struggled this past season, but he features clear upside and has, at times, flashed true CB1 talent. His best season came in 2016 when he snagged four interceptions, broke up 16 passes, and allowed a 78.2 passer rating in coverage, according Pro Football Focus. In Tennessee, Butler joins a secondary that includes 2017 first-round pick Adoree' Jackson and former Patriot Logan Ryan. Suddenly, the Titans' secondary looks like it could be a real strength of the team a year after their defense ranked 13th in yards allowed, 17th in points allowed, and 21st in DVOA.
With Butler signed, the attention now shifts entirely to ex-Ram Trumaine Johnson, who is clear and away the best cornerback on the open market. Meanwhile, the Patriots might not be done bleeding as key offensive players in Dion Lewis and Nate Solder are exploring their options in free agency.