Patriots' Malcolm Butler to visit New Orleans Thursday

Splashy winters simply weren't a part of Bill Belichick's DNA.

New England has held joint practices with New Orleans each of the past two seasons. He's a risky pick heading into 2017 and it'll take seeing how the Patriots plan to use him to determine if he'll be just a fantasy contributor or a fantasy mega-star. If you were the Patriots, is that enough compensation to let arguably your best defensive back walk out the door? They also managed to add tight end Dwayne Allen, defensive end Kony Ealy and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, per

Following the Patriots has been wildly entertaining for almost two decades now, and the team added a new wrinkle to its repertoire during the last week - the offseason bombshell parade.

Apparently, the three-year, $4.5-million pact isn't quite official yet. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder can not be traded to another team until it is.

April 2016: Acquired third-round pick and fourth-round pick - guard Joe Thuney and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell - from New Orleans in exchange for second-round pick.

For better or worse, in the Belichick era, the Patriots have lived by the mantra "it's better to lose a player one year too early than one year too late". They are tough. And they're good - maybe even very good.

New Orleans could end up the long-term victor of this deal, depending on how well they draft. In reality, New England acquired nearly as many picks as they traded away. Averaging over 1,000 yards receiving and over 8 touchdowns per season, the production may not get much better in New England. In the Saints' case, it would cost the No. 11 pick, not the No. 32 selection they received in last week's Brandin Cooks trade.

Malcolm Butler is most famous for intercepting the pass from Russell Wilson with 20 seconds remaining in Super Bowl XLIX. His catch average of 15.0 per reception shows he is a big threat receiver that will be a valuable weapon for Tom Brady as they look to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. And based off what we saw from him this past season, regression itself is unlikely during that span. "But coming to New England it seems like it's an offense that guys do a bunch of different things and I'm looking forward to being able to do some things that I didn't necessarily have to do in New Orleans, hopefully to get the chance here and do it here".

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BOSTON Under Bill Belichick the Patriots have typically taken a reserved posture at the start of free agency, opting to take their time before pulling off any major moves. That second-round tender shouldn't scare away teams with ample draft picks. Cleveland is in absolute love with the backup quarterback.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the Saints have begun negotiations on a new contract for Butler and hope to strike a deal this week. Wouldn't that be the ultimate troll job?

The 27-year old Butler is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Patriots would have an opportunity to match any offer that he would agree to with the Saints. Such a signing would also force the Saints to give up their original first-round pick in the draft (11th overall). New England and New Orleans have made four deals since September 1, 2015.

The Patriots have a few options when it comes to Butler.

The Steelers, who might be the AFC's second-best team, did not fare as well as their rivals in free agency. Butler is due $3.91 million with the tender and can become an unrestricted free agent after 2017.

All the while, New England retained Pro Bowl linebacker Dont'a Hightower.

So the answer to the question we posed in this article's title is rather simple. "I'm just here to play football and that's what it's all about".

If history is any indication, it's going to happen.

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