In 2015, Malcolm Butler was a New England hero; an undrafted free agent rookie who made the biggest play in Super Bowl history to secure the Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl 49. Three years later, he saw exactly one snap as his team was picked apart by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in a 41-33 Super Bowl 52 defeat.
On Tuesday, the former All-Pro cornerback agreed to a five-year, $61 million deal with the Tennessee Titans, that will include more than $30 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. It’s the blockbuster contract he sought but never received from the Patriots.
It’s the next step on a four-year career that’s included three Super Bowl appearances. Butler broke into the league in 2014 as an undrafted free agent out of Division II West Alabama. slowly earning Bill Belichick’s trust before stepping up to intercept Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson late in the fourth quarter of a 28-24 Super Bowl win. He followed that up with a second-team All-Pro performance in his first year as a full-time starter, becoming a standout in a loaded Patriots defense.
Covered Vikings for Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1999-2008 Follow on Twitter Facebook Twitter Facebook Messenger Pinterest Email comment Welcome to the NFL’s annual scramble for top talent.
Less than two months remain before the 2018 draft (April 26-28), when teams will jockey for the prospects who will make up the majority of the league’s rosters in the coming years.
Free agency, of course, is a supplementary exercise.
What follows is a subjective ranking of the high-end players still available, and the ones who have already agreed to terms.
Crabtree’s receiving yards were significantly down from 2016, but he also had too many dropped passes to overlook.
He only caught 57.4 percent of the 101 passes that came his way, and he was tied (with teammate Jared Cook, among others) for ninth in the league with five dropped balls.
What Crabtree did on the field just didn’t live up to the expectations set by his contract.
He also served a one-game suspension after a little shoving and jawing with Talib turned into a full-blown fight.