Malcolm Butler was understandably upset after being benched in Super Bowl 52. He played just one snap the entire game — on special teams — in the Patriots’ 41-33 loss.
“They gave up on me. Fuck. It is what it is,” Butler told ESPN afterward. He added, “I could’ve changed that game.” He declined to speak on his future in that moment. But on Tuesday, he tweeted a statement thanking Robert Kraft and Patriots coaches for his four years in New England:
Butler said that he’s always given it his all during his time as a Patriot. He also mentioned that reports of him doing anything other than preparing for the game were false, and hurtful to him and his family.
He doesn’t commit to being with the Patriots in the letter, nor does he say he’s leaving. But there is a tone that hints he’s done in New England, which wouldn’t be a surprise. He’s set to be a free agent this offseason, and there will be teams out there willing to pay for his services.
Only he didn’t stretch far enough. Jenkins, the All-Pro cornerback who helped lead one of the league’s most complete defenses in 2017, let him know about it:
The drop was a pivotal moment early in the game. Rather than earn a fresh set of downs inside the red zone, New England was forced to stare down fourth-and-5 from the Philadelphia 35. Bill Belichick elected to go for it rather than kick a 53-yard field goal; kicker Stephen Gostkowski had already botched an extra point and a 26-yard kick at that point. When Brady’s fourth-down heave to Rob Gronkowski fell to the turf, it closed the book on a scoring opportunity — one the Patriots would need later.
Transition tags pay a player the average of the 10 highest-paid players at his position. A tagged player is allowed to negotiate with other teams. The player’s current team can match any offer given to a transition-tagged player, but the team will not be given compensation if it decides not to match.
Players can be tagged in consecutive years, but it’s costly. For a player to be tagged two-straight years, the team must pay 120 percent of the player’s previous salary. If it’s three-straight years, the team must pay the player 144 percent of his previous salary.