Instead, he signed for a below-market one-year, $3.9 million tender that would allow him full-fledged free agency this spring. Butler doesn't appear to have any chance of returning to New England and is one of the top corners available.
Meanwhile, according to Pro Football Weekly, the Texans are "in on" Butler after quietly expressing interest last offseason when he was a restricted free agent.
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Veteran Danny Amendola , who has been with New England for the past five seasons, is planning to sign with the Dolphins. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Dolphins have emerged as the "front-runner" for free agent WR Albert Wilson .
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Winter storm warnings were in effect for parts of Virginia and West Virginia, where heavy snow already was reported Monday. Snow, or a mixture of snow and sleet, was forecast for eastern Wake, eastern Harnett and all of Johnston counties.
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In three years since taking over as a starter with the Patriots, Butler collected eight interceptions and did not miss a game.
Butler broke into the league in 2014 as an undrafted free agent out of Division II West Alabama. slowly earning Bill Belichick's trust before stepping up to intercept Russell Wilson late in the fourth quarter of a 28-24 Super Bowl win. Gilmore's contract was a five-year, $65 million pact with $40 million guaranteed, and after a slow start, he lived up to it with his strong play over the second half of the season.
Butler's durability was impressive in his time with the Patriots, as he played 98.8 percent of the defensive snaps in 2015, followed by 96.7 and 97.8 in the next two seasons.