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Sports Final: Mike Reiss Discusses Malcolm Butler's Contract Situation With Patriots

BOSTON (CBS) -- Malcolm Butler was one of the 17 players absent from last week's OTAs at Gillette Stadium, leaving some to wonder if the soon-to-be restricted free agent is fighting for a new contract.

ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss was the first to report that Butler is going to ask for an adjustment on his current deal, a rookie contract that will pay him $600,000 for the upcoming season. Reiss joined WBZ-TV's Sports Final on Sunday night to discuss Butler's contract situation, and doesn't sound too worried that it will lead to a holdout before the season.

"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."

Reiss said avoiding injury is a big part of why players skip out on the voluntary camps when looking for a new contract.

"If you're going for a contract extension, you get out on the field on a voluntary team activity and cut the wrong way and your knee goes out, there goes your leverage. This is the one time he can go out there and say 'I'm not OK with this,' and not lose any leverage," he said.

Butler was present at New England's "Fantasy Camp" last Wednesday at Gillette, so he is in the area and participating in team events. But the corner is making it clear he would like a new contract.

We'll have to see if that desire carries over when Patriots Training Camp begins in late July.

Reiss also discussed the next step for Tom Brady in court as he battles his four-game DeflateGate suspension, and his confidence in backup quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo. Tune in to Sports Final every Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. on WBZ-TV!

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