Malcolm Butler, Saints have begun negotiating contract

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He specified that the reason the Saints explored trades for Cooks was because they were hoping to add resources to help improve their defense.

Another swap may be imminent.

Saints coach Sean Payton confirmed to The Associated Press that Patriots restricted free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler is visiting New Orleans on Thursday.

That is a steep price to pay - both in terms of draft capital and financial capital - given that the 27-year-old Butler would most certainly hit unrestricted free agency long before a future first-round pick's contract reaches its fifth-year option.

Second, New England could match the deal.

Last season, the former Pro Bowler had a career-high four interceptions as well as 48 tackles, 16 passes defensed, one sack, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Yet he finds himself with little leverage to show for it.

This move obviously has Saints fans in shocking misery and Patriots fans in a state of pure bliss.

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This may not be the last time these two teams deal with one another. Or, the Saints could work out a contract with Butler and his representatives on the side and make a straight-up trade for him. Should the Saints sign Butler to a deal, there are three possible outcomes.

It'd be far from the first time. Now, the 3rd year man out of Oregon State is a New England Patriot.

The deal consists of the 32nd overall pick going to the Saints, along with a third-round pick in exchange for Cooks and the Saints' fourth-round pick. With the weapons New England has, teams won't be able to double Cooks as much as he was in New Orleans, so there is a very good chance Cooks could have his best season to date in 2017.

He'd be a welcome addition in New Orleans. Before the Patriots completed an National Football League trade to acquire Brandin Cooks, Butler was the player rumored to be sent to the New Orleans Saints for the wide receiver. Big paydays are not typical until a player hits free agency, but we have seen instances where teams have chosen to reward a player who has exceeded expectations. The exact same No. 32 draft pick that New Orleans just acquired from New England in the Cooks trade.

- Butler could receive an offer sheet from the Saints, and the Patriots could match it.

The most likely compensation?

The Patriots placed a first-round tender on him, meaning he's on the books for $3.91 million in 2017. Dont'a Hightower has yet to re-sign, but things still look promising there. Now, the Patriots might have an even better one with Butler and Gilmore. Allowing him to depart for less would only come to fruition via trade. Because Bill Belichick isn't the short-sighted type.

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