Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to all things going on within the franchise. For that reason, many people found it hard to believe when rumors started emerging about a potential plan to trade up for prospective quarterback Justin Fields.
Recent reports from former executive Michael Lombardi have dispelled those rumors — and another anonymous NFL general manager pointed out how ridiculous they really are.
“Three years later, no one knows why Malcolm Butler didn’t play in the Super Bowl,” the GM reportedly said, per ProFootballTalk.
As to the notion that the Patriots would somehow allow any interest in Justin Fields to be leaked, a G.M. who doesn’t buy it said this, “Three years later, no one knows why Malcolm Butler didn’t play in the Super Bowl.”
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 29, 2021
This anonymous executive makes a good point. The lack of playing time for star cornerback Malcolm Butler in the Patriots’ 2018 Super Bowl loss remains one of the biggest mysteries in NFL history. After starting a team-high 97.8 percent of snaps during the regular season (per ProFootballFocus), Butler didn’t record a single defensive snap in the title matchup with the Eagles.
As of right now, the Patriots hold the No. 15 overall pick in tonight’s draft. While this mid-round selection may not land the franchise its first choice, New England still have a solid chance of picking a game-changing prospect.
Despite re-signing Cam Newton on a one-year deal earlier this offseason, the Pats still have some notable uncertainty at the quarterback position. The No. 15 pick puts the team in decent position to land one of the top-five QBs in this year’s talented class. Other speculation has tied the Patriots to a potential homecoming for current San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo by way of trade.
While plenty of analysts have their opinions on what the New England will do tonight, only one thing is for certain: Belichick will play his cards close to the chest until it’s time to make a move.
Opening night of the draft will kickoff at 8 p.m. E.T. tonight.
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