While not almost as valuable as a second round pick in this 2017 class, which is positively loaded with corner prospects that could replace Butler in the long run, keeping him on the team this season and settling for a third round pick two years from now would give the Patriots a very, very strong secondary for 2017.
Most of Cooks' success with the Saints came via big plays - he averaged 13.3 yards per reception during his three years in New Orleans, including a career-high 15 yards per catch last season on a career-low 4.9 receptions per game. If they don't, they Saints will be forced to part ways with their first-round pick in 2017 which is the number 11 spot.
Butler could always sign the tender and let the Patriots trade him. The Patriots may see the end in sight and feel that while they have the resources available, they should go after big-name players they feel can help them.
The New England Patriots reportedly traded their first-round pick (no. 32) and third-round pick (no. 103) in 2017 to the Saints for receiver Brandin Cooks and New Orleans's fourth-round pick (no. 118). A deal that sent their third-round selection and defensive end Kony Ealy to the Patriots in exchange for a second-round pick is what fans like to hear.
That left Malcolm Butler frustrated and angry with the New England Patriots.
Of all the deals they've made, the most notable is the Cooks trade, which makes this unlike offseasons past. For the first time in nearly 10 years, the Patriots will have a true #1 wide receiver. The Saints are still the favorites to land Butler. Brandin Cooks is no Randy Moss by any means, but he's one of the fastest receivers in the league, able to break the lid off of nearly any defense (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40fKncfJUMM) and has been steadily getting better after each of his 3 seasons in the league so far.
The Saints also signed offensive guard Larry Warford with a $14-million guarantee, wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. with a $3-million guarantee, and linebacker A.J. Klein with a $9.4-million guarantee.
"As a young guy I think there were some things that I would've liked to have done more", Cooks said. And while the rest of the clubs picking in the first round have until April 21 to sign the West Alabama product to an offer sheet, things look to be moving faster than that.
Teams control young players' rights for an extended period while paying them at a negotiated, limited scale. Allowing him to depart for less would only come to fruition via trade.
You know, we roll our eyes at Bill Belichick's answers so much that we often forget to listen to them.
The Saints are clearly interested in making it work with Butler, so it can be presumed the negotiations have gotten off to a fruitful start.