The New York Jets do not get too many opportunities to take advantage of a mistake by the Patriots. The Patriots treatment of Malcolm Butler presents an interesting opportunity this offseason.
One of the keys to the Patriots’ dynasty has been their cold heart. The idea that it’s better to get rid of a player a year too early rather than a year too late. This idea has never been more on display than in their treatment of Malcolm Butler during Super Bowl LLI.
The Patriots shockingly benched Butler for the entire game. Bill Belichick claimed it was for football reasons. The decision certainly didn’t work out. The Patriots were repeatedly gashed for big plays by Nick Foles and the Eagles skill players.
The New York Jets are a team badly in need of new cornerbacks. While Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye look like longtime fixtures at safety, the corner future is murky. Morris Claiborne played well at times but lost time to injury yet again. Buster Skrine is better suited for the slot and Juston Burris didn’t seem to develop.
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While Butler had an up and down season, he was almost dealt for a first-round pick last year. He is the type of player who can add some balance to the Jets secondary as they look to improve the team. He has also played his best in the brightest stages which makes the Patriots move to bench him all the more curious.
It is rare that the Jets are able to take advantage of a mistake by the Patriots. Just this week, Butler was talking about re-signing with the Patriots. It’s hard to see that happening now.
Butler seemingly felt betrayed by the moves to bench him. NFL players are largely motivated by respect. You would have to imagine Butler would want to use the next year to prove that New England made a big mistake.
There are few moments where you can improve yourself and hurt your rival. With loads of salary cap room, this seems like one of those situations and the Jets should take advantage.