The Detroit Lions are showing interest in Malcolm Butler

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 20: Malcolm Butler
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 20: Malcolm Butler /

In what will probably be the least surprising thing about the 2018 offseason, the Detroit Lions are reportedly interested in Malcolm Butler.

This is likely the least surprising rumor Detroit Lions fans will ever hear. All season there was talk that with Nevin Lawson and D.J. Hayden as the team’s leading pass interference and defensive holding perpetrators respectively were unrestricted free agents this off-season, the team would go after former Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.

When the Lions hired former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as the new head coach, speculation grew.  The question became: who made the decision to bench Butler in the Superbowl? A few days ago Matt Patricia said of Butler that he considered the player “like one of his sons.” Was the feeling reciprocated by Butler? Would the bitterness of playing 98% of the Patriots defensive snaps in 2017 only to be benched in the Superbowl keep the player from rejoining his coach in a new environment?

Well according to Mike Girardi of NBC Sports Boston, general manager Bob Quinn and the Lions are asking those very same questions. Girardi reports that the Lions have reached out to Butler. The team would like to see if the player has interest in a reunion. This signing would reunite the player with the coach that made him a Superbowl XLIX phenomenon.

Quinn said in his NFL combine press conference that the Lions would not be active in the cornerback market. He said that the Lions were hoping their young guys would step up for the 2018 season. There is an old saying among the media that cover the off-season process. It goes: “How do you know a team official is lying during the off-season?” “His lips are moving” is the response.

Butler fits one of the three player archetypes that Matt Patricia’s defensive system has used. over the last seven years. He typically likes to have one small and quick corner, one big and physical corner, and one dominant corner that is just right. This lets him utilize his best corner on the other team’s number one wide receiver. The other two are in matchups that fit their abilities. Darius Slay is the Goldilocks of the secondary.

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The Lions drafted Teez Tabor in the second round of the draft in 2017. While he not the biggest corner at 6′ and 200lbs, he is physical and matches up well with bigger receivers. The addition of Butler would give the Lions a very strong corner group heading into 2018. Late season safety convert Quandre Diggs and all-pro return man Jamal Agnew serve as injury insurance, but both Diggs and Agnew are better served in the slot. Quinn could look to add a more traditional outside corner late in the draft as well. Malcolm Butler solves a big problem for the Detroit Lions.