Even though cornerback Malcolm Butler was essentially a no-show for the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, he was still a highly-sought-after free agent this offseason. And as it turns out, the Chicago Bears were one of the teams in pursuit.
Butler tells Sports Illustrated TV that the Bears and Houston Texas were among the teams to offer him a contract in free agency. Butler says the Bears’ deal was worth $30 million over three years, while Houston’s offer was for just one year. The Detroit Lions also showed interest, but did not submit a formal offer.
Considering the Bears’ aggressiveness in free agency, it should come as no surprise the team was interested in Butler to the point where an offer was extended.
Even though the team placed the transition tag on fellow cornerback Kyle Fuller with the intent of matching any offer sheet that came back to Halas Hall, Chicago still had an opening at the position opposite of Fuller, because Prince Amukamara was still a free agent. And if we follow the timeline, it’s worth noting that reports of Amukamara re-signing with the Bears came after Butler reportedly came to terms with the Tennessee Titans.
So we can conclude that the Bears were interested in adding Butler – a Pro Bowl performer and one-time Super Bowl hero – but only at their price point. And after his still unexplained Super Bowl disappearance, you could understand why Chicago appeared to proceed with caution in its offer. Clearly, the Titans valued Butler more as they extended an contract that was two years longer that could be worth more than double what the Bears were offering.
But don’t get me wrong: Butler would have been a solid fit for Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme. He is solid and dependable in man-coverage and a willing tackler in run-support, and teaming him with Fuller would have given the Bears one of the best cornerback pairs in the league. The Bears do still have a solid tandem at the position, but it doesn’t have the kind of upside a Butler-Fuller duo would have brought to the table.