Malcolm Butler would be fantastic for the Arizona Cardinals

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Malcolm Butler
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Malcolm Butler /

From the looks of things, the Arizona Cardinals secondary could undergo some wholesale changes in 2021. Just days before free agency is set to begin, it appears that veteran cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick will both hit the open market. Following the release of the injury-prone Robert Alford on Wednesday, third-year player Byron Murphy is the only cover guy on the Cards roster who has started an NFL game.

Under the circumstances, it would be fair to assume that Arizona general manager Steve Keim will acquire at least one free-agent corner. Among those looking for work is Malcolm Butler, a 31-year old who was just sent packing by the Tennessee Titans. Will the Cardinals take a run at the 5’11,190 pound Butler?

Based on what he accomplished last fall, Butler should be high up on the Cards most-wanted list. In 16 starts for the Titans in 2020, the Mississippi native registered 100 tackles, four interceptions and an impressive 14 passes defensed. It was arguably the best campaign that Butler has had since he entered the league back in 2014.

It appears that Tennessee’s dismissal of Butler was strictly a cost-cutting move. The team will gain a little over $10 million in salary-cap room by doing so, while absorbing $4 million in dead money. The Titans had roughly $7 million in cap space before Butler’s departure, a miniscule amount for a squad with a variety of needs heading into the ’21 season.

A starting duo of Butler and Murphy at cornerback presents a solid scenario for the Arizona defensive unit. The club could even opt to add another candidate for the position during next month’s draft. First-round possibilities include Alabama’s Patrick Surtain, Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn.

Butler started his pro career seven years ago when the New England Patriots signed the undrafted free agent. The University of West Alabama product spent four years with the organization, and walked away with two Super Bowl rings. Butler spent the past three campaigns with Tennessee after signing a free-agent contract with the franchise in March of 2018.

There should be no shortage of suitors for Butler’s services. J.J. Watt was an outstanding addition to the defense, but the Cardinals need to do more. Butler would certainly qualify as another fantastic acquisition if Big Red’s front office can find a way to make it happen.