Butler signs, but could be dealt

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.   Maddie Meyer  Getty

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler has signed his restricted free-agent tender, which opens the possibility that the team could trade him.

He is now set to make $3.91 million for the 2017 season. If Buffalo does not decide to match, then New England will have to send over a fifth-round pick as compensation for Gillislee's tender.

As Doug Kyed of NESN noted, no offer sheet has been made, and the transaction allows the team to discuss trades.

New Orleans owns two first-round picks - the No. 11 and the No. 32 overall selections, the latter of which was acquired from New England in the Brandin Cooks trade. The one time over the past three years the final pick of round one wasn't traded, it was held by the Patriots. With that in mind, let's take a look at five Patriots rumors you need to know with just under two weeks remaining before the 2017 NFL Draft.

Saints coach Sean Payton said at the National Football League meetings last month the team plans to add two cornerbacks this offseason and showed his interest in Butler.

This is important because it's an intentional way that the Patriots have built their team in free agency. But it doesn't preclude the Patriots from keeping him in 2017, either.

With the draft a little more than a week away and the Patriots without a pick in the first and second round, expect a deal soon. Butler's fate is likely to be known by the end of the month.

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