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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri Sep 25 - 12:00 AM | Sun Sep 27 - 10:40 AM

News Blitz 3/8: Butler tendered, free agency rumors fly

The clock is counting down to Thursday afternoon's new league for the NFL and the official opening of free agency.

The rumor mill of the league's "legal tampering" period is churning at full speed.

And teams are finalizing their plans heading into the money-filled open market.

For the Patriots, according to ESPNBoston.com, that included tendering the team's restricted free agents, led by a first-round, $3.91 million tender for Pro Bowl cornerback Malcolm Butler, though no long-term deal is apparently imminent with the Super Bowl hero. ESPNBoston.com wonders if a team would still pursue Butler in free agency, desite the potential first-round pick compensation to sign him.

There is no doubt that Dont'a Hightower is the most important, valuable Patriots player set to hit free agency and the Boston Globe says New England cannot afford to let the linebacker leave town. Rumors have tried to tie the Patriots to free agent running back Adrian Peterson, but the Globe says New England needs to let another team take that "bargain."

The Globe also notes that Butler got the first-round tender, while detailing the deals for other New England restricted free agents such as tackle Cam Fleming. The Globe looks at Tom Brady's entry into the healthy meal delivery business. The *Globe *also has a full free agency guide for NFL fans.

The* Herald agrees that the Patriots are better off passing on the running back Peterson. The *Herald Patriots notebook looks at the Butler tender tale. The Herald also reports on Brady's meal business, which apparently gets you three vegetable meals a week for $78. Herald columnist Steve Buckley offers his thoughts on Brady's meal plan. The Herald notes that Miami tight end David Njoku is already a popular pick for the Patriots in the mock draft world.

With free agency fast approaching, the Providence Journal says the Patriots are looking at the possibility of losing five starters on defense. The Pro Jo has its version of the Butler story.

NFL.com has Brandon Marshall jumping from one New York team to another, signing with the Giants. NFL.com says the Patriots don't view 2017 as any sort of deadline in regards to Garoppolo. Despite supposedly being willing to sign a team-friendly deal with New England, Peterson doesn't list the Patriots among his top targets while looking for a new NFL home. NFL.com is one of the updated mock drafts with Njoku landing in New England.

Cleveland.com says that the Browns "dream scenario" for this spring would include trading the 12th pick in the draft for Garoppolo, though the site says the team won't be willing to also send a first-round pick in 2018 in a potential deal.

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