The Saints aren't the only ones interested in landing Malcolm Butler, it seems.
According to Yahoo's Eric Edholm, the Texans would be OK with sending a second-round pick to the Patriots in return for the 27-year-old corner. Of course, as we explained in this post breaking down the Butler-to-the-Saints scenarios, Butler would need to sign his first-round tender with the Patriots before he could be traded.
Would a second-round pick be enough for the Patriots to make a deal? Not if the Saints are willing to part ways with the No. 32 overall pick they received from New England in the Brandin Cooks deal.
THE MALCOLM BUTLER SAGA
But the most significant piece of this latest report isn't that the Texans -- who lost corner AJ Bouye to the Jaguars via free agency -- are willing to part with a second-rounder for Butler. It's that Houston's interested at all.
With a second team in the mix, there remains the potential for a bit of a bidding war for Butler that would drive up the return for the Patriots in a trade.
If the Texans are only offering a second-rounder, though, the war may not last all that long.
In a move that could impact the Jimmy Garoppolo sweepstakes, the Browns have traded for Brock Osweiler. Kind of.
A better way of putting it would be this: In a move that could impact the Jimmy Garoppolo sweepstakes, the Texans have paid the Browns a 2018 second-round pick to take Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler, who signed a four-year contract worth $72 million last offseason with nearly $37 million guaranteed, had a disastrous season in Houston, getting benched late in the regular season for Tom Savage before reclaiming the starting job ahead of the team’s postseason loss to the Patriots.
The former Broncos quarterback reportedly might not be long for Cleveland, however, as Jason La Canfora and others reported the team is trying to flip him to another team and could just release him if nothing comes up.
La Canfora reports that the Browns are intent on getting a 2018 third-round pick, noting that "many" believe the team's intention is to stockpile draft picks and then trade "a bevy" of them to the Pats for Garoppolo.
Joel Corry of CBS Sports took a very long look at whether the Texans could possibly trade J.J. Watt. While it is not a report of anything being imminent, it does explore the idea detailed fashion, with NFL executives and agents providing their thoughts.
So what does that have to do with the Patriots? In trying to gauge Watt’s potential value, he brought up a hypothetical trade for Rob Gronkowski. After all, both players are 27-year-old superstars with back concerns and the Patriots would have the cap space to add Watt while re-signing Martellus Bennett.
As Corry put it, the idea of a Watt-for-Gronkowski swap “received mixed reviews,” with one executive saying Gronkowski is a far riskier trade acquisition than Watt.
“I can’t imagine the teams making this trade,” the executive said. “Gronkowski’s back and injury history scares me much more than Watt’s.”
Another executive was intrigued by it. He thought more than New England’s 2017 first-round pick (32nd overall) would be required in addition to Gronkowski for the deal to make sense for the Texans but didn’t specify what else would be necessary.
Gronkowski’s back issues date back to 2009, his junior and final season at University of Arizona. He had back surgery in June of 2013 and suffered a season-ending herniated disk this past season.
Watt, meanwhile, was limited to three games in 2016 by a herniated disk. He was placed on injured reserve in late September and underwent back surgery shortly after.