Malcolm Butler is a man without a team at the moment. Though it seems as though the wheels are in motion for him to be dealt to New Orleans, that's not a done deal, and there is a chance he ends up back in New England for 2017.
Patriots safety Duron Harmon, who re-signed with the Patriots this offseason after testing free agency, is hoping that Butler will be back. He understands, though, that any player who is weighing his options needs to do what's best for him.
"I love Malcolm," Harmon said during a conference call Friday. "I love being his teammate, what he brings to the football field, what he brings to the locker room. I would love being his teammate but, you know, this is a business more than anything. I know that people have got to do what’s best for them, so I’m just rooting on him that he gets to do whatever he feels is best for him."
While Butler's future is up in the air, the Patriots are sure to have a new-look secondary in 2017 thanks to the acquisition of free-agent corner Stephon Gilmore. Though Gilmore is at his best when playing man-to-man and getting physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage, he won't be playing in a vacuum. He'll have to get up to speed on all the communication that occurs in the Patriots defensive backfield.
The majority of the work in that regard will fall on Gilmore's shoulders, but he'll have to have help from the veterans he'll be working with. Harmon explained that he and his teammates will be willing to put in as many hours as need be in order for Gilmore to feel comfortable.
"We’ve got to put the work in," he said. "We’ve got to come on the practice field, we’ve got to work hard on the practice field and in the classroom. If we've got to stay after, we've got to stay after.
"You know how much we like to win around here and communication is very key to how we play good defense. It probably will always be that way, so we’ve got to make sure the communication is up to par, and it’s going to be on us to make sure everybody is communicating and communicating the right stuff."