Calling the contract of Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler the team’s worst is premature.
Last year, Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler inked a five-year, $61 million contract, with $24 million guaranteed at signing. He instantly became the highest-paid player on the Titans’ roster.
Left tackle Taylor Lewan had not yet signed his mega-extension, and while defensive lineman Jurrell Casey once held the crown, Butler managed to land a contract that valued $850,000 more.
Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon believes Butler’s contract is the Titans’ worst.
"Butler bombed in his maiden season with the Tennessee Titans, performing terribly during a penalty-plagued first half of the year before redeeming himself (to an extent) with a strong second half. But a good half-season isn’t satisfactory when you’re one of the 12 highest-paid corners in the NFL."
I hear that. It’s well said, and I appreciate Gagnon not dismissing Butler’s second half of the year. But while his initial overall price tag seemed hefty, Butler only carried a cap hit of $6 million—30th among CBs—in the first year.
Technically, during Butler’s acclimation period with the Titans, he was not one of the 12 highest-paid corners in the NFL. Not yet, and it’s a good thing.
Tale of 2 halves
Weeks one through nine were dreadful, as Butler allowed a passer rating of 141.8 while targeted. He struggled mightily, his eyes focused too much on opposing QBs. Butler attacked and jumped routes prematurely, hoping to force turnovers and live up to the hype of his new colossal contract.
Then, for lack of a better word, things got better.
Down the stretch, Butler reminded us just how good he could be. He got back to the basics, and from weeks 10 through 17, Pro Football Focus had him slotted as the seventh-best corner in the league, allowing a measly 40.4 passer rating.
What I can’t yet get behind is the direction in which Gagnon continues. He writes:
"“The worst part is that even if the Titans want to move on after this season, it’ll cost them $6 million to do so.”"
Who’s to say we’re ready to move on? 16 games is not a large enough sample size for me. Not to mention the best potential out—according to Spotrac—is in 2021, costing only $4 million in dead cap.
I can wait; I’m not yet ready to call for his head. It’s not far-fetched to think he could be a comeback player of the year candidate.
Dog eat dog
Malcolm Butler is a DOG. He’s precisely the type of player I love to watch and a veteran whose energy can fuel the locker room. Look at the reaction of his teammates on this pick-six.
He’s a guy from a small school that fought tooth and nail for everything he’s ever earned. A man with true grit on the line of scrimmage, his tenacity unmatched.
It’s simple: Butler didn’t give up on his 2018 season, so why are people so willing to give up on him?
Plus, the man can punt.