Veteran Chris Gamble, who was benched last season, and Captain Munnerlyn, a 2009 seventh-round draft pick, are Carolina's starting cornerbacks, but first-year coach Ron Rivera had said he was looking to upgrade at the position. R.J. Stanford and Josh Thomas, a rookie claimed off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys, are the backups, according to the Observer.
Butler was a second-round pick in 2009, and he started eight games during his two seasons in New England. Earlier in the day, he said he was ready for the next phase of his NFL career after learning of his release.
Speaking to the Boston Herald, the cornerback said he wasn't sure why he was waived, just that it was best to "part ways."
"I don't know," Butler said. "I can't give you one specific reason. But I had a rough year last year, and I guess, going forward, they felt that the guys that they had they were better off with. I don't know why exactly things panned out the way they did here. But it's in the past now."
Butler called the Patriots a "class-act organization, top to bottom." He started five games as a rookie and entered the 2010 season as a starter, but that lasted just three games.
"It's a business, man," Butler told the Herald. "This is by no means the end. ... I'm excited about my future, really. Get somewhere and make an impact.
"I know (the release) it's not a case of me not being talented or smart enough or anything like that. I know the work ethic I'm going to bring to any other team just like I had here. ... It'll give me a chance to have a new first impression with the coaches and players and just get out there and play. Let my talent take over."
Butler was the third recent starter in the Patriots' secondary to be released recently, following safeties James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather. Sanders signed with the Atlanta Falcons last week, and Meriweather landed with the Chicago Bears on Sunday.