In listening to ESPN Radio’s Wilde and Tausch the other day, I really took to heart what the former Packers offensive lineman had to say about bringing a high-paid free agent into a locker room and what that can do to the chemistry of an entire team.
“It’s all about money,” exclaimed Tauscher, when talking about the delicate inner workings of the locker room, something those of us outside of it rarely think about.
I’m paraphrasing here but Tauscher went on to say… If you bring a guy in from the outside on a huge deal, that guy better come in and work his ass off because otherwise you’re in serious danger of having turmoil within the locker room.
And with that thought process taking the forefront and utilizing it as perhaps the greatest reason Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson has abhorred high-priced free agent moves in the past, I think the Packers have a long-term solution at the No. 1 cornerback position staring them in the face.
His name is Malcolm Butler.
Now, Butler was recently saddled with a first-round tender by the New England Patriots as a restricted free agent. That means any team wanting to take Butler will not only have to give up their No. 1 pick, they will have to give Butler, coming off a rookie contract, a deal that could potentially make him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in football.
But is that even a possibility? Will anyone be willing to sacrifice a first-round pick for Butler AND be willing to pay him? If no one steps up to the plate and makes a move, the Pats are going to get Butler this year for around $3.5 million dollars. That alone is reason enough for the Packers or ANY team to make a run at Butler.
The difference is the Packers have a definite need and Butler would fill it.
Butler is excellent in coverage. Maybe not quite as good as Sam Shields was, but he is an aggressive and hard hitting presence on the edge. The Packers haven’t had a corner like that since Charles Woodson was kicking ass and taking names.
The likely scenario for Malcolm Butler would have been to disappear after making the greatest play in Super Bowl history, but from the moment he made that play he has been vocal and intent that he does not plan to be remembered for only one play. After three seasons he has two Super Bowl trophies and in 2016 played at an All-Pro level.
Butler’s game is on the rise and could anyone in that locker room POSSIBLY feel like Malcolm Butler doesn’t deserve to be paid? They all know he’s been grossly underpaid in his short career. So he checks off that box, as laid out by Tauscher.
And what are the chances Butler comes in and coasts? What are the chances this kid who made what will eventually be known as “The Play” (if it’s not already), is going to just suddenly get content and not be a worker?
His is a presence you can build a secondary around and I would envision that he would come in as a leader right away.
The chances are great that the Packers wouldn’t be able to wrangle Butler away from the Patriots. Bill Belichick knows how valuable he is, but he is the most viable solution for the Packers. One I would readily give up a first-round pick and big money for.
The Packers should make a serious run, one that forces the Pats to do something they abhor more than Ted Thompson abhors free agency — overpaying for one of their players. With No. 2 cornerback Logan Ryan likely gone in free agency, the Pats would be in as bad of shape as the Packers are at cornerback if Butler were to exit stage left.
Make. Them. Pay.
It’s a win-win for the Packers even they don’t get Butler.
Look, the Packers brass would probably never want anyone from the Patriots’ system anyway, because they’d be petrified of being compared unfavorably to them, but one can dream right?
Malcolm Butler might come with an expensive price tag, but he’s the closest thing to a sure thing, long-term solution for the Packers at the No. 1 corner spot.