The majority of the moves made the day before free agency officially begins were on the offensive side of the ball. The Titans made the first mega splash on defense picking up former Patriots corner Malcolm Butler. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the deal is five years for $61 million with over $30 million guaranteed.
The Titans weren’t even linked to Butler, with Detroit and Houston emerging as possible landing spots. He comes into a great situation where he’ll be surrounded by young talent.
Butler found himself on the outs in New England following an offseason in which the two parties could not agree on a contract extension. Signed by the Patriots as an undrafted in 2014, Butler went on to make game-clinching interception in Super Bowl XLIX of that same season.
A year later Butler was named to the Pro Bowl. In 2016 he tallied a career-high four interceptions. His tenure in New England, though, culminated by getting benched prior to Super Bowl LII.
Butler never became the star the Patriots hoped for but the two-time Super Bowl champion can be a boon for the Titans. He joins a young secondary headlined by cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, cornerback Logan Ryan, and safety Kevin Byard. This secondary should make life difficult for opposing quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson, and Blake Bortles in the wide-open AFC South.
The Titans can now upgrade their pass rush in the draft or through a bargain pickup in free agency. Butler’s deal is massive and could become an issue if his subpar 2017 season is a sign of things to come. If he can get back on track in his fifth season than it will be well worth it. The next step this offseason for the Titans is to lock up Pro Bowl tackle Taylor Lewan.