This removes the opportunity for Butler to sign as a free agent with another organization. Instead, they could send the Patriots the 32nd overall pick, a selection New Orleans got from the Patriots in exchange for Brandin Cooks last month. Butler had four interceptions last season.
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 tender was at the first-round level and carries a salary of $3.91 million for the 2017 season, according to ESPN.
Transactions: #Patriots CB Malcolm Butler has signed his RFA tender.
The Saints have shown considerable interest in Butler, who reportedly wants a lucrative long-term contract. Well, his tenure in New England may come to an end if he waits too long to re-sign with the Patriots because they are getting exhausted of waiting.
Coming off another Super Bowl win, the New England Patriots will undoubtedly head into 2017 with sky-high expectations.
The Atlanta Falcons are on New England's home schedule this season and could have been an option for a Super Bowl rematch in Week 1. But it doesn't preclude the Patriots from keeping him in 2017, either.
As of now, Butler figures to line up opposite Gilmore in what should be one of the NFL's most talented secondaries, if not the best.
As the Patriots build up toward next week's National Football League draft, their strategy would be dramatically altered if they moved one or both of their two significant trade pieces.