New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans

Malcolm Butler is proving Bill Belichick right, again

With his poor level of play this season, Malcolm Butler is proving Bill Belichick right yet again.

As Nick Foles found little resistance from the New England Patriots defense during Super Bowl LII, on his way to an MVP performance, the decision to bench cornerback Malcolm Butler became a source of frustration from fans right on down to Patriots’ players. Bill Belichick continually deflected questions on the issue, and it’s mostly gone away as a major topic.

As the Patriots now look toward the Tennessee Titans in Week 10, they’ll see Butler on game film. The Titans signed Butler to five-year, $61 million deal during the offseason ($30 million guaranteed). So they’re paying him like a No. 1 corner, and through eight games this year they’re not getting anything close to that.

Butler is third on the Titans with 37 total tackles, which is a product being targeted, allowing catches and having to make stops. His ineptitude was on display against the Dallas Cowboys Monday night.

It’s one thing to get completely undressed by Amari Cooper, who is a solid route runner with some acumen as a former top-five pick. But Allen Hurns outright burnt Butler on a touchdown later in the game.

The pressure of living up to a big contract might be a thing for Butler. But his drop-off last year has reached a new low so far this year. After signing Logan Ryan, and watching him now go without an interception for a season and half, the Titans are learning another hard lesson about a former Patriots’ cornerback.

Butler is barely a top-100 graded corner by Pro Football Focus right now (No. 98). So while the bad plays get the attention, his overall body of work this season has been bad.

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There’s a long list of players Bill Belichick knew when to part with, and did so with varying levels of cold-blooded calculation. Butler has added himself to that list, and the Patriots will get a chance to pick on him this week.

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