Patriots sign Super Bowl hero Butler, may trade him

New England Patriots defensive lineman Alan Branch tosses his gloves to a fan after their 26-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in an NFL football game Sunday Dec. 4 2016 in Foxborough Mass

New England Patriots defensive lineman Alan Branch tosses his gloves to a fan after their 26-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in an NFL football game Sunday Dec. 4 2016 in Foxborough Mass

That's not a big surprise: Just because Butler signed his one-year restricted free agent tender, that doesn't mean he's happy. But Butler wasn't signed to an offer sheet, which the Patriots could've matched to keep him; or if they chose not to, they would've received a draft pick in compensation.

Butler had not signed the tender in hopes that another National Football League team might sign him to an offer sheet before Friday's deadline.

When asked about the team's intention with Garoppolo and CB Malcolm Butler, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio left the door open for discussion.

"We had a chance to visit with him", Payton said of Butler at the time. "That's where the focus is".

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"I don't anticipate that many transactions here between now and next Thursday or Friday", Caserio said about a potential Butler trade. Things can change in a heartbeat.

Butler, now 27, intercepted a pass from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at the goal line in the final minute of Super Bowl XLIX to secure the victory for the Patriots. But New England coach Bill Belichick has balked at giving him the lucrative, long-term security he has been seeking.

In the midst of a standoff between Butler and the organization over a new contract, the Patriots signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a staggering five-year, $65 million contract that added fuel to the speculation fire that Butler would play elsewhere if a new deal could not be reached.

The Patriots also signed exclusive rights free agent tight end Matt Lengel and released offensive lineman Tre' Jackson.