Patriots CB Butler still in play for Saints

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After more than a month as a restricted free agent, it was obvious no team was going to give Butler what he was reportedly looking for.

There's still a strong possibility that New England could trade Butler during the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.

Transactions: #Patriots CB Malcolm Butler has signed his RFA tender.

Butler replaced Revis atop the depth chart the following season and has started all 32 games since.

The New England Patriots were shopping backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo early in the offseason for a pair of high draft picks, and while no deal has come close to happening. The one time over the past three years the final pick of round one wasn't traded, it was held by the Patriots.

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The Pats now do not pick until the top of the third round (No. 72 overall). The Patriots traded first and third-round picks for Cooks, a second for Ealy, and a fourth for tight end Dwayne Allen.

First, it is the 65th birthday of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who since taking over as coach in New England in 2000 has become arguably the greatest coach in National Football League history, winning an unprecedented five Super Bowl championships.

The Patriots also need to look at edge defender and linebacker, with Kony Ealy and Kyle Van Noy free agents after 2017 and Rob Ninkovich getting older, and at strong safety with Patrick Chung getting older, too.

Another scenario is holding on to Butler for this season and pairing him with Gilmore in what would be one of the NFL's better 1-2 combinations.

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