Free Agent Fits: Malcolm Butler
Coming off a Super Bowl benching, Malcolm Butler has the NFL questioning why that may have been. Butler wasn’t as good this past year as he has been in years before, but he wasn’t bad. There are a lot worse corners out there. I think Butler was seen as much better than he actually is because he played for the Patriots and he made that incredible interception in the Super Bowl a few years back.
Well I think it’s safe to say that Butler will not be a member of the New England Patriots next year, meaning that he’s going to be playing elsewhere. There are several teams who could use a corner like Butler. Everyone wants to create the next dominate defense, and to do that they need solid corners. Butler isn’t going to be a shut down guy, but he can be solid. Where may he end up playing next season?
This fit is assuming that Richard Sherman comes back healthy and gets back to his same level of play. It might take a little while for that to happen, but I think Sherman will be back. The Seahawks could use a solid number two corner to play opposite of Sherman, especially as he works his way back into things. Seattle’s defense isn’t what it once was, and I’m guessing they’d like to get back to that level. After their Super Bowl runs and seeing the defense’s that made it deep into the playoffs this season, Seattle has to be wanting to get back.
This may be a little awkward for Butler and the Seahawks because of what happened in that Super Bowl, but I’m sure Seattle would love to have him. Pete Carroll is a great coach, who I think could get the most out of Butler. Again, I think he’s better suited to defend number two receivers, which is what he’d be doing here.
The Colts were able to make progress on defense this season, but they also lost one of their best players in Vontae Davis. With Davis out of the picture, the Colts will be looking for a corner to come in and take his place. Malcolm Butler might be that guy. Butler wouldn’t fix all the problems the Colts have on defense. There are still many other spots they’d have to sure up before they can get to the level they want, but Butler would be a nice addition to get that started. Butler can be a good fit here, but the Colts being able to sign him depends on how much they’re willing to spend.
If Malcolm Butler wants to play in a familiar system with a familiar face, why not go play for your old but recent defensive coordinator? Matt Patricia is the new head coach of the Lions, and I bet he’d like to have a familiar player. I don’t know if Patricia had anything to do with benching Butler or not, but even if he did, at least he knows what he’d be getting. Darius Slay is the number one corner in Detroit, and the other corner spot is available. Covering number two receivers opposite Slay is perfect for Butler. This would be a great corner tandem, especially in a division where they have to play Aaron Rodgers twice every year.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams need another corner. They may not resign Trumaine Johnson, and if they don’t they’ll for sure need a new corner. If they do resign Johnson, they could also use a good corner opposite of him. The Rams also have some other players hitting free agency, so they need to add some depth and insurance if they can’t resign those players. This team has a great defensive front, which should make things easier for the Rams corners. Now they just need to find the right corners to cover for that short amount of time. Malcolm Butler can be one of those guys.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers finished as one of the bottom 10 teams in pass defense last season, so a solid corner like Butler is something they need. This team is up and coming now that they’ve signed Jimmy G long term. It might take more than one offseason to get this team to be serious contenders, but signing solid and experienced starters throughout the roster is a great start.
The 49ers have a lot of money to spend in free agency, so they’d be able to give Butler the money he’s looking for. I don’t think Butler will command a whole lot, but if he does the 49ers can do it. Witherspoon is a promising young corner, so having Butler as an experienced veteran who has come a long way since being undrafted might help this young corner to grow into what the 49ers ultimately hope he’ll be.