Even after placing him on the reserve/retired list, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph won’t rule out a Malcolm Butler return (Twitter link via Darren Urban of the team website). Joseph added that he spoke with Butler as recently as last week, a sign that he could retake the field at some point this year.
Butler has not disclosed his reasons for walking away, but Joseph said it has to do with personal matters rather than his on-field play. That checks out, considering the 31-year-old finished 2020 as Pro Football Focus’ No. 15 ranked corner in the NFL. It was a strong comeback after he missed much of 2019. All in all, he finished with four interceptions and 100 total tackles — a new career high — while playing a full 16-game slate. He also wrapped with the lowest yards-per-completion and yards-per-target numbers of his Tennessee tenure.
Butler was expected to play a key role in Arizona’s secondary after inking a fully guaranteed $3.25MM deal with Arizona. Without him, they’ll be leaning more on Byron Murphy, rookie fourth-round pick Marco Wilson, and Robert Alford for coverage.
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