Lombardi: Saints will need to give up 11th overall pick for Butler

Lombardi: Saints will need to give up 11th overall pick for Butler

Malcolm Butler will come at a steep price if the New Orleans Saints want to acquire him.

"If Saints want Butler, it would be for their pick, 11th overall. You decide if that trade happens," Michael Lombardi tweeted on Sunday. Lombardi is a former Patriots assistant and current NFL analyst for The Ringer.

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Some thought the Saints would try to trade for Butler with the 32nd-overall pick, which the Patriots sent to New Orleans in the trade for Brandin Cooks. However, Butler is a restricted free agent, and has yet to sign his first-round franchise tender, which means the Patriots cannot include him in trade talks, per NFL rules. The Saints will have to place an offer sheet on Butler. If the Patriots elect not to match that offer, Butler would go to New Orleans and the Saints would send their first round pick, the No. 11 selection, to New England.

Butler was in New Orleans visiting the Saints last week, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. They were negotiating a potential contract.

Butler, a three-year veteran, has not missed a game in the last two NFL seasons. In 2016, he had 63 tackles, 17 pass deflections, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one sack.

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

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Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."