Signing with the Titans will free him from Belichick’s whims and give him a longer leash as he works to justify his first big-money contract. While Butler doesn’t have the elite size that’s been valued more and more in recent seasons (he’s 5’11), his fluid hip movement makes him an able man-to-man coverage corner who can follow everyone from slot receivers to deep threats. He’s been even better in the playoffs; in seven postseason starts he’s knocked down eight passes and made 33 tackles.
It’s also not exactly a complete change of pace for Butler. In Tennessee he’ll join former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, who is the Titans’ new head coach, and general manager Jon Robinson, who cut his teeth as a Patriots scout.
At 28 years old, Butler’s best seasons may still be in front of him. He’ll join a Titans secondary that can use the help after finishing No. 25 in the NFL in passing yards allowed. But with Butler, Logan Ryan, Adoree Jackson, and Kevin Byard in the secondary, good times could be ahead for the Tennessee defense.
Richburg’s deal, perhaps not coincidentally, resembles Mack’s.
The former Giants center reportedly gets a five-year, $47.5 million contract from the 49ers, just a tad more than the five years and $45 million Mack got in his deal with the Falcons.
Mack’s contract included $28.5 million in guarantees, identical to the mark Richburg hit in his deal.
Richburg doesn’t have the pedigree Mack had when he made the move, but the 26-year-old is also hitting free agency four years younger than Mack was when he signed with Atlanta.
In all, this is a very reasonable move to make a massive upgrade on the interior for San Francisco.
Jeremy Maclin didn’t really impress after making that move last year, but Baltimore got plenty out of Steve Smith several years back, and they’re making a significant bet on Grant given the contract terms.
I’m more inclined to like the one-year, $5 million deal they gave former Cardinals standout John Brown.
QB Chase Daniel, Bears Grade: D+ Daniel signed a two-year, $10 million deal to back up Mitchell Trubisky in Chicago, which makes sense given that he knows the system new coach Matt Nagy will be running after spending time in Kansas City.