When Patriots corner Malcolm Butler wasn't on the field for last Thursday's OTA, it sparked questions as to whether or not he might be holding out for a new contract. Voted into the Pro Bowl last season, Butler is scheduled to make $600,000 in base salary in 2016 -- well under market value for a player of his caliber.
ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss reported over the weekend that Butler has told those close to him that he has plans to push for a contract adjustment this offseason.
Might that push include a holdout? It's unclear, but on Tuesday Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that Butler is expected to be in attendance for Patriots OTAs this week. Howe went on to note that he was given "a strong indication" that Butler's absence last week was not related to his contract.
The Patriots will hold two more volunatry OTA sessions on Wednesday and Thursday that will be closed to the media. The team held three such sessions last week, with Thursday's as the lone practice open to reporters. Mandatory minicamp will be held from June 7-9.
If Butler shows up to remaining OTAs and through minicamp, then it will be an indication that he's chosen not to attempt to gain leverage in negotiations by withholding his services. Yet at the same time, his presence on the field won't necessarily mean that he's be satisfied to continue playing under the deal that he has thoroughly outperformed through his first two professional seasons.