Yesterday, after the news broke of Chandler Jones being traded to the Arizona Cardinals for a second round pick and OG Jonathan Cooper, Patriot fans and media members alike instinctively saw this as a direct correlation of not being able to sign "The Big 4." Chandler Jones, Malcolm Butler, Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower will all command new monetarily lucrative deals, and it became apparent that Jones was the odd man out.
While Jones is a good defensive end, he is wildly inconsistent and is not worth the massive deal he will receive on the open market. While yesterday it was reported that the Patriots had not begun contract extension talks with Jamie Collins or Dont'a Hightower, this morning, Bleacher Report broke the news that the Patriots were prioritizing Jamie Collins' new contract this offseason.
With a cap hit next year of $1,196,682 (Per Spotrac), Jamie Collins is due for a significant pay raise. While he is sometimes spotty in coverage, I have not seen an athletic freak like Collins in some time and he is crucial to the way the Patriots operate on defense. Coupled with Dont'a Hightower (Who is also due for a pay raise), the New England Patriots have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.
The decision to get out in front of this contract dilemma is crucial to the success of the future of the New England Patriots. As Collins progresses, he could become one of the best defensive players in the NFL, if he is not already. On the open market, he could command a deal that mirrors Von Miller. Getting out in front of this situation gives the Patriots the relaxation of knowing they will not have to get into a bidding war in 2017.
It is vital that Bill Belichick does not fudge around with Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, but rather pay them and make sure they are Patriots for years to come.
Simply put, Malcolm Butler loves being a New England Patriot. At an anti-bullying event in Brockton, MA this morning, Butler met shortly with the media and talked about his impending free agency in 2017. This is what he had to say (Per Jeff Howe, Boston Herald):
“One day, it’s going to come. You just can’t ignore it. I’m just going with the flow, doing my job, making sure I come back in shape, making sure I come back ready to go. If it happens, it happens. I want it to happen. But I can’t control the things I can’t control, so I’m just playing football, glad to be in the NFL, glad to be a Patriots player, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
I’m just here to do a job. I’m blessed to even be in the NFL. I came from nothing, so I’m blessed to have everything I have. Whatever happens, happens. I’m just glad to be in the NFL. I’m glad to be a Patriots player. I couldn’t ask for anything else.
I play cornerback in the NFL. I’m not the G.M. I’m not the player personnel (director) or anything like that, so whatever happens, happens. No matter what, I’m going to play football the same way."
Hopefully they give Butler a new deal, sooner rather than later. He loves being a Patriot and would almost certainly take a team-friendly deal because of his humble beginning. If the Patriots wait to extend this guy for another season, and he players like he did last season, then the Patriots would have to pay top cornerback money, which they usually don't do. Ask Revis.
With a cap hit of $600K (again, per Spotrac), the Patriots are going to have to pony up and pay Butler $8-$10 million per year.