Patriots CB Butler still in play for Saints

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With it becoming clear no team would sign Butler to an offer sheet - the deadline is April 21 - he made a decision to sign the contract, which now gives the Patriots an opportunity to discuss a trade with other teams.

This year's draft class is one of the deepest in years, so of course, Belichick has gone against conventional wisdom and been willing to include picks in multiple trades.

Get free real-time news alerts from the Foxborough Patch. Should the Bills decline to match the offer, the Patriots will likely let free-agent running back LeGarrette Blount find a new team.

An afterthought with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner at the top of the cornerback depth chart, Butler saved New England's fourth Super Bowl victory by picking off Seattle's Russell Wilson at the one-yard line in the final minute of the game.

The team announced Tuesday that cornerback has signed a new deal. Pass rushers Jordan Willis of Kansas State and Derek Rivers of Youngstown State fit the mold and would be ideal replacements for Jabaal Sheard.

It appears Jimmy Garoppolo will be staying in New England. Although none fall in the first two rounds, New England will have some flexibility in the middle rounds.

The Patriots also need to look at edge defender and linebacker, with Kony Ealy and Kyle Van Noy free agents after 2017 and Rob Ninkovich getting older, and at strong safety with Patrick Chung getting older, too.

(It's possible they trade him after the draft in a player-for-player swap or for 2018 picks, but that scenario seems unlikely).

Currently, the Patriots don't have a pick in the first or second round of the draft. Butler's fate is likely to be known by the end of the month.