When the Patriots were trying to work out a trade for WR Brandin Cooks, Patriots CB Malcolm Butler was part of the negotiations. However because Butler had not signed his restricted free agent offer sheet put forth by the Patriots, they could not trade him.
So a deal was worked out for the Patriots 1st pick #32 and 3d pick #103, for Cooks and the Saints 4th pick #118.
After the Cooks trade, Malcolm Butler flew to New Orleans to talk about a long term contract. Word out of New Orleans is Contract talks with Butler were promising.
However Butler has not signed his offer sheet from the Patriots. One can only suggest that Butler is waiting to see if any other team is willing to offer a contract for him and giving up the required 1st round draft pick. The Patriots then have the right to refuse or match the contract offer.
I'm projecting when Butler signs his offer sheet from the Patriots, that Butler will be part of a trade with the New Orleans Saints. One could suggest that the Patriots could get their 1st draft pick #32 back in exchange for Butler.
However it could also be possible the Saints could offer a 2nd round pick #42, and a pick next year, maybe a 3d to get Butler. This sounds like a better value for the Patriots.
I believe these talks were part of the Cooks trade negotiations, should Butler be unsigned by another team.
This will be interesting to watch with the date for restricted free agents to sign their teams offer sheet quickly approaching.