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Bertrand: Malcolm Butler Has 'Zero Leverage' In Contract Request With Patriots

BOSTON (CBS) -- The scuttlebutt out of Foxboro is that Malcolm Butler wants to get paid.

Due just $600,000 in salary while working as the Patriots' No. 1 cornerback, it seems as though Butler would prefer getting paid on a much closer level to his role on the team than his current contract dictates.

After Butler missed an organized team activity (OTA) session, ESPN's Mike Reiss broke the story over the weekend, telling WBZ-TV's Steve Burton that Butler wants an "adjustment."

"He's talked to teammates and he's talked to friends who have said he's going to push for an adjustment on his contract. You're not going to get an argument from the team or friends saying he doesn't deserve that. He has outperformed his contract," said Reiss. "If he's staying away because of his contract, this is a way of letting the Patriots know he's not OK with the status quo. I don't think it's that bad if that's the case; if he stayed away from a mandatory minicamp that could get acrimonious, and you don't usually win when you fight the Patriots that way."

Scott Zolak and Marc Bertand led Tuesday's show talking about Butler, and Bertrand first questioned the source of the information. Beetle felt like the leak came from Butler's agent, despite Reiss saying the agent didn't return messages.

"It's one day. It's one day that he was not at OTAs. Do you find it a little bit odd that anybody, including Mike Reiss, would be jumping on the fact that it was one day missing and all of a sudden there's speculation that it's related to the contract?" Beetle asked. "Which is my way of saying, 'Bull crap, Mike Reiss.' What do you know on this?"

"This is Reiss' way of just getting it out there, and he knows a little more," Zolak said. "He hasn't been able to confirm, because he hasn't gotten the contact with the agent. The agent hasn't responded."

"Oh, I disagree," said Beetle. "I think [Reiss] might be covering for the agent. I think the agent might be the source of all of this information. Listen to this: [Butler] told teammates that he's unhappy and wants an adjustment? So ... did a teammate rat him out? Did a teammate go to the press and repeat that? Or is it one of those situations where the agent says, 'Hey, listen I got something for you, and it didn't come from me, and you never spoke to me and I didn't return your emails or calls, but I can tell you that he's told teammates this as well.' And all of a sudden that turns into, 'He's told teammates,' and no it didn't come from the teammates. It came from the guy's agent.

"It's OTAs. A guy misses one day of OTAs and it's now tied into the contract thing without saying it is? Of course something's going on here. So this is what we know: Butler wants a new deal. Call it an adjustment, call it a new deal, call it an extension, call it whatever the hell you want. He wants a new deal. Does not want to play under his current contract; he wants a new contract. That's a cute little way -- oh, I want an adjustment. No, you want a new deal. The deal you have now is not good enough, you want more money, you want a new contract. But they're careful in the wording of this, because that might sound a little harsh, that might sound a little demanding to say 'I want a new contract.'

"I think he's handling it like a rookie," Beetle added. "One good year in the league and he's handling it like he's had one good year in the league. Why is he going public with this? It's May! Does he think this is going to help him?"

Zolak noted that it's likely that someone within the organization confirmed Reiss' suspicions, and then he said that the Patriots probably agree with Butler that the corner is due some more money.

"He's a damn good player. They know what they have in him now. They've seen enough corners come through here to [be able to] rank him as far as what they feel his potential can be, what's the high ceiling for him, can he continually get better," Zolak said. "See, I think he can get better, which is pretty damn scary. I think he's durable, he's tough, he's got some swagger to him. He's a pretty damn good cross between Asante [Samuel] and Ty [Law]. He's not Ty; I don't know if there will ever be another Ty here. [Darrelle] Revis is a different type of player, he's kind of cerebral, he has the ability to control his emotions to be kind of the same guy every single play, where Malcolm can elevate and get a little chippy.

The conversation led to a spirited debate between Zo and Beetle.

Bertrand: "He's not close to the open market. He's years away from the open market."

Zolak: "But neither is Rob Gronkowski, right? They have Gronk under contract and everyone says, 'Well he should hold out.' The 2-6 show [Felger & Mazz] do four hours on Gronkowski holding out. But you could make the case -- I know Rob's a planet player. Malcolm's not a planet player (yet). He may be one day, who knows?"

Bertrand: "Zo, he had a great year. One great year in the league. When has Bill Belichick ever caved to a player who's had one great year? Ever!"

Zolak: "[The Patriots] look at it and they know, OK this kid's going to be a starter for us for a long time. They were comfortable moving away from Darrelle Revis last year and going with Malcolm Butler. That's how much they like this kid. So don't downplay that he had only one good year in the league. They know the upside with this kid. This isn't where you can argue with Gronkowski and say, 'Rob, even though you aren't the highest-paid tight end, we pay you pretty much up there near the top. You're top three, top five. It doesn't look like we're [cheaping out].' That's one you can argue that, eh, Gronk can hold out but he probably shouldn't because he's near the top. Malcolm isn't even sniffing the top. And he's definitely a one. So there are 32 ones in this league -- 32 No. 1 corners. Where does he rank in those 32?"

Bertrand: "The difference is that Rob Gronkowski is a four-time All-Pro and is a very much established player on this team, and if he comes into the office and says, 'You know what coach? I really think we should talk about an adjustment.' Well, he's going to have their ear. He's going to have the respect to at least have a conversation about it."

Zolak: "I think they found their corner now. And at some point, you have to pay your corner. Just a little bit."

Bertrand: "Yeah, OK, my point is this: He has zero leverage."

Listen to the full discussion below:

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