Cornerback Malcolm Butler is the latest free agent to join the Arizona Cardinals, agreeing to a one-year deal Thursday reportedly worth up to $6 million.
Butler was considered one of the top cornerbacks on the market and his career stats — especially his 2020 season — show exactly why.
Last season with the Tennessee Titans was a solid one for Butler. The 31-year-old amassed a career-high 100 total tackles, four interceptions, a team-leading fourteen passes defensed and didn’t miss a game.
Over his seven year career, Butler has been named to the Pro Bowl once, won two Super Bowls (and made an iconic play you just might remember) and has appeared in 100 total games.
Take a closer look at the Cardinals’ newest cornerback, by the numbers:
Butler totaled 100 total tackles with the Titans in 2020, the most of any cornerback in the league. It was also a career-high for the player, whose previous record was 69. His 89 solo tackles in 2020 marked a career-high as well.
One hundred is also the number of regular season games Butler has appeared in over seven seasons — 84 of those games he has started.
The cornerback holds a six-year streak with at least two interceptions and nine or more passes defensed. In 2020, Butler led the Titans with 14 passes defensed. He also tied for the team lead and his career-high with four interceptions, notably picking off Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen twice in Week 5 and the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers in a Week 16 win.
17 + 2
Speaking of interceptions, Butler has recorded 17 total in the regular season in his time between the Patriots and Titans. His most memorable, though, is one of his two playoff interceptions, which happened at State Farm Stadium — but not against the Cardinals.
A then-rookie Butler picked off Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson during the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX to seal the Patriots’ 28-24 win. Cardinals fan will be hoping to see a moment like that again when the two teams meet twice this season.
Butler has appeared in 12 total playoff games, most recently in the Titans’ Wild Card loss to the Ravens last year in which he recorded five tackles and an interception. The cornerback was also part of two Super Bowl wins in 2014 and 2016 with the Patriots.
Pro Football Focus gave Butler a 71.6 overall grade for the 2020 season. He ranked as the No. 15 cornerback in the league, according to PFF, a jump from his No. 21 ranking in 2019. The football analytics website also gave Butler a 72.7 grade in coverage, 59.3 in run defense and 50.2 in pass rush.
Patrick Peterson, the No. 1 cornerback Butler replaces in Arizona, recorded a 55.2 overall PFF rating and 53.1 coverage grade in 2020.