Cooks' trade to New England eventually could reap defensive dividends for Saints

What kind of offers did the New Orleans Saints turn down before ultimately trading receiver Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots last Friday? Should the Saints sign Butler to a deal, there are three possible outcomes.

If Butler doesn't accept an offer, he can choose to sign his one-year tender with the Patriots that will pay him $3.91 million in 2017.

Butler could always sign the tender and let the Patriots trade him.

The Patriots also assigned a first-round tender to restricted free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler, the hero of Super Bowl XLIX with a game-saving interception, thus keeping him under contract for at least the next year. He wasn't traded to the Saints last week, but he might still leave the team. In New Orleans' case, that means the 11th pick. That would seem unlikely given that Belichick's preference would likely be to send Butler out of the conference, and the fact it might not be a strong enough depending on what the Saints come through with. The Pats received Cooks and a fourth-round pick in exchange for the No. 32 overall selection and a third-round pick. He would need to sign that contract in order to become available via trade. The Saints are still the favorites to land Butler.

It's no secret that Cooks now brings a tremendous presence to the receiving corps of the Patriots. If the Patriots don't match the offer within five days, the Patriots would get New England's first-round pick in the draft. Would you be okay with the Texans coughing up their second round pick for a proven, veteran cornerback?

In all, the New England Patriots have added the type of player they have been missing since they traded Moss during the 2009 season. If he signs, his agent would no longer be allowed to negotiate with teams and his salary for the season would be significantly lower than his asking price.

Meanwhile, as the process has gone on, it's been mentioned how much Butler has to lose if he takes the field in 2017 and suffers an injury that would end his earning potential.

The Saints would be paying a premium for Butler, no doubt - maybe even "overpaying".

The New Orleans Saints could address the cornerback position through free agency, after all.

  • Rosalie Stanley