In recent years, there’s been a trend of CBs who’ve been great even with the rules going more and more against them. But, a lot of these guys are late round picks, this includes guys like Trumaine Johnson, Josh Norman, Richard Sherman, and now a Super Bowl Hero is seeking a raise from his sub-million-dollar/year contract.
Malcolm Butler was an undrafted free agent and in their Super Bowl in 2014, Butler earned a spot in the defensive rotation and made one of the most famous plays in Super Bowl History, intercepting Russell Wilson on the goal line.
Butler was spectacular last season and earned his place in the NFL as a #1 CB. Some will say the Patriots run a defensive system that’s very “CB-friendly.” My counter to that would be the guy the team drafted that weren’t successful, like Terrance Wheatley, Ras-I Dowling, Darius Butler, and others.
Butler is a huge help to the defense, but not as valuable as McCourty is, but CB is a position, like QB, that is vital in the success of today’s NFL. Butler is still young, and making less than $1million/year and he’s bound to be a free agent, along with Donta Hightower, Jaime Collins, Logan Ryan, and Duron Harmon, all players who contribute to the Patriots success defensively.
Josh Norman’s new contract will likely be the type of money that many of the young CBs, Desmond Trufant, Tyrann Mathieu, and Butler will likely go after. Mathieu does a little more than the other two, but Trufant and Butler are elite caliber CBs.
The Final Verdict:
The Patriots have a history of playing serious hardball with many of their players reaching unrestricted free agency. We all remember Logan Mankins holding out for 12 games and calling the Kraft ownership “cheap.” Or the time where Wes Welker wanted to stick it to Bill’s face “every once in a while.”
But the Patriots usually like to lock up core players, they once did with Wilfork, Seymour, Brady, Gronk, and McCourty. I believe Jamie Collins, Donta Hightower and Malcolm Butler give the Patriots a nucleus going forward with Brady reaching the age of forty.
CB is the toughest position in today’s NFL, the rules really are stacked against them. Many in New England remember how hard it was to replace Asante Samuel after he signed with the Eagles at the end of the 2007 season. I don’t think the Patriots will make that mistake again.