Secondly, New England exhausted a ton of capital in adding the likes of Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen in separate trades last month.
First, it is the 65th birthday of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who since taking over as coach in New England in 2000 has become arguably the greatest coach in National Football League history, winning an unprecedented five Super Bowl championships.
First off, which prospects expected to be first or second-round picks might the Patriots covet at those positions?
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If New England falls in love with any of those prospects, Belichick won't hesitate to ship out Butler.
It looks like Jimmy Garoppolo will be playing 2017 with the Patriots.
(It's possible they trade him after the draft in a player-for-player swap or for 2018 picks, but that scenario seems unlikely).
Butler has played in 43 regular-season games with 33 starts, including starts in all 16 games over the last two seasons for the Patriots.
The bottom line: As if they weren't already, the Patriots will be Super Bowl favorites next year should they keep Butler around. A trade of Butler before the 2017 NFL Draft would accelerate the compensation by two years, and it would likely provide better draft compensation.