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Malcolm Butler's agent: We're not asking Pats for a lot

Contrary to popular belief, Malcolm Butler's agent would like everyone to know that he's not asking the Patriots for the moon.

"The Patriots haven't approached Malcolm about his contract since last year, and anything that says he keeps asking for the moon is completely false," Butler's agent, Derek Simpson, told ESPN.com on Thursday.

Butlers supposed demands -- and New England's refusal to pay him -- were at the core of a wild free agency opening on Thursday afternoon. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Butler has been pushed into trade speculation with the Saints. As Rapoport mentioned, Butler could be sent to New Orleans for Brandin Cooks. The Tennessee Titans are also in the running for the former Saints first-round pick.

However, Simpson pushed back on his client's behalf; something that didn't seem to stop New England from signing former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore at the top of the market Thursday or signing Duron Harmon, a fellow defensive back, to an extension.

If Simpson is right and the Patriots have not approached Butler about a new deal, this has to be an extremely confusing and frustrating time assuming Butler wants to remain in New England. The perception is not uncommon with other high-priced free agents we've seen New England jettison over the years. But is that the reality?

The gears already seem to be in motion and when Bill Belichick deems a player too expensive or too non-cooperative, it only seems like a matter of time before he shuts the whole thing down. Look at Jamie Collins' decline in playing time before the trade to Cleveland or the trade for Dwayne Allen, which sent a crystal clear message to fellow tight end Martellus Bennett that he might as well hit the market.

We've already seen one trade shake the football world this week. Could we be in for another?

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