By: Jake Mackey
The Bean Town Blitz Twitter account conducted a poll Thursday night that ran for 24 hours.
The resounding number one choice amongst the 21-voters was Malcolm Butler. Throughout the week this same question has been presented on various Boston sports talk shows, and the sentiment amongst media media members and fans is that Butler is priority number one. I strongly agree with that given the Patriots history with developing cornerbacks, and the lack of talent at the position around the league. It is extremely difficult to find a Pro-Bowl caliber cornerback that you can rely on to take on the opposing team’s best receiver on a weekly basis. That is why locking up Malcolm Butler soon is a top priority in Foxborough.
Most Patriots fans thought when this time would come it would be an easy decision. Drop Chandler Jones like a bad habit, which they’ve already done, and lock up your two stud linebackers. Now, Malcolm Butler has thrown a monkey wrench into those plans by coming out of nowhere as an un-drafted Pro-Bowler in his second season.
Now it appears as though the Patriots may have to decide between Hightower and Collins. The voters chose Collins over Hightower 24% to 19%. While I won’t scold you for choosing one way or another, I believe Hightower is the more important player to lock up. Most people complain about the fact that he gets injured often, and to that I say where was Jamie Collins all of last November?
Dont’a Hightower, even though he is a linebacker, is the best pass rusher on the Patriots roster when fully healthy. He can line up on the edge and get in the backfield, as well as play in the middle and stop the run.
(GIF Credit: Patspulpit.com)
Jamie Collins yes is an athletic freak like we have heard a thousand times. However, wouldn’t you think given his freakish athleticism that he would be able to cover running backs out of the backfield or an aging Owen Daniels in the AFC Championship. The fact of the matter is, Collins has somewhat turtled in big moments. He looked as if he were on roller skates in the divisional round against Baltimore a few years back, then in Super Bowl XLIX he let Marshawn Lynch run right past him for 20-yards on the first play of the final series, and we all saw Collins get torched for two pivotal touchdowns on third and goal in Denver this past January.
(GIF Credit: thebiglead.com)
An ideal situation would be the Patriots locking up Butler, Collins, and Hightower, and I would not completely rule that out. If that were to happen you would need to say goodbye to the likes of Rob Ninkovich, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, and Jabaal Sheard, amongst others.
At the start of last season, Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner signed a four-year 43-million dollar extension with 21-million guaranteed. That is precisely what both Hightower and Collins will demand. Add to that what top cornerbacks get for extensions, and Robert Kraft will have a lot of cash to deal out before this upcoming March. There probably won’t be enough to go around, and if it were up to me I would have to let Jamie Collins walk as much as that hurts.