Patriots sign Super Bowl hero Butler, may trade him

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Malcolm Butler has signed his restricted free agent tender, according to multiple reports, but it remains to be seen whether the star cornerback will stay with the New England Patriots or be traded. Instead, the Saints are believed to covet Butler in exchange for the No. 32 overall pick they received in the trade that sent Brandin Cooks to New England. The signing doesn't necessarily mean that Butler will be returning for the 2017 season, as the 27-year-old cornerback could still very well be traded ahead of the NFL Draft.

The Saints didn't plan to sign Butler to an offer sheet, but at the NFL's annual meeting in March, coach Sean Payton seemed to hint the club could be interested in a different scenario.

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was asked several times about Butler at his pre-draft news conference on Tuesday, but declined to tip his hand. "That's where the focus is".

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The New England Patriots are back in the news with more off-season transactions happening on Tuesday. Things can change in a heartbeat.

Butler has played in eight postseason games with five starts, and he had an interception at the goal-line that secured the win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. The Patriots could always look to hold on to Butler with the hopes of working out a long-term extension prior to the July 15 deadline, or could let him play under the tender in 2017, pairing him alongside recently signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

The Patriots also signed exclusive rights free agent tight end Matt Lengel and released offensive lineman Tre' Jackson.

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