When NFL free agency opens up at 4 p.m. today, the Patriots will reportedly lose a number of key players, including two to the Titans.
According to multiple reports, both cornerback Malcolm Butler and running back Dion Lewis are expected to sign with Tennessee.
Butler, the former Pro Bowler and Super Bowl hero whose career in New England ended with his benching last month for Super Bowl LII, will reportedly ink a five-year contract worth $61 million with the Titans, including $30 million guaranteed. That will put to rest recent speculation that the former undrafted rookie would struggle to find the big-money contract that he's been looking for over the last year-plus.
Lewis, who took over as New England's lead back over the second half of 2017 and finished the year with career highs of 180 rushes for 896 yards and nine total touchdowns, will reportedly get a four-year deal worth up to $23 million with $11.5 million guaranteed.
Tennessee has plenty of ties to the New England organization. G.M. Jon Robinson spent 2002-2013 working in various roles in the Patriots front office. Newly-minted Titans head coach Mike Vrabel played linebacker for Bill Belichick from 2001-2008. And Butler will play opposite former Patriots cornerback teammate Logan Ryan, who signed with the Tennessee as a free agent last offseason.
Neither loss is much of a surprise, but in conjunction with Danny Amendola’s reported signing with the Dolphins, the trio of departures leaves some pretty sizeable holes to fill on the New England depth chart.