(WVUE) - From Super Bowl hero, to Super Bowl no show. On the Patriots side, all the buzz from Super Bowl 52 surrounded Malcolm Butler's notable absence in their loss to Philly. Bill Belichick didn't divulge many details other than to say he did 'what was best for the team.'
Butler will now enter the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. Signaling a likely end to his time in New England. They were almost done a year ago when it was reported the Saints had a deal in place for Butler, but it fell through. Now they wouldn't have to trade, the Saints could just sign Butler. But is he worth it?
On the positive side, Butler led the Patriots defense in snaps played this season, and hasn't missed a game due to injury in the last three years. He also has eight interceptions over the last three seasons.
On the flipside, Butler will be a bigger name to hit free agency. Though, not viewed as elite, he is considered very good, and very good usually translates to a great salary especially at his position.
The website Spotrac estimates his market value at 13 million a season, that's more than Cam Jordan makes. Plus, if there's more than just football reasons behind his benching, Butler may have some explaining to do.
The Saints avoided high-priced contracts last season, and had their best free agent class in years. Is Butler worth bucking last year's trend? We'll find out in mid-March.