Sources: Malcolm Butler visiting Texans, Desmond King could return

After spending the 2021 season out of the NFL, free agent CB Malcolm Butler is meeting with the Houston Texans.

HOUSTON —  Veteran free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler, a two-time former New England Patriots Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl hero, is visiting the Houston Texans on Friday, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

Malcolm Butler meeting with Houston Texans

Butler retired last year with the Arizona Cardinals for personal reasons. He was placed on the reserve/retired list before being cut in February.

A former undrafted free agent from West Alabama, Butler, 32, played for the Arizona Cardinals last season. He has also played for the Tennessee Titans.

Butler is a two-time Super Bowl winner who famously intercepted a Russell Wilson pass in the final seconds of the Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The 5-foot-9, 187-pound CB is an instinctive, experienced defensive back with outstanding ball skills.

Butler left the Patriots in free agency after not playing any defensive snaps in a Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018. He signed a five-year, $61 million contract with the Titans that included $30 million guaranteed.

Accomplished coverage specialist

In his first season with the Titans, Butler had 69 tackles, 12 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, a sack, and a touchdown. He broke his wrist in 2019 but returned for the 2020 season. He intercepted 4 passes before being released in the offseason.

For his career, Butler has 406 career tackles, 17 interceptions, 3 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles.

Texans want Desmond King back

The Texans are working to retain free agent cornerback Desmond King, according to sources.

King was shifted from his typical slot role to outside corner in 2021. However, he could return to the more natural nickel spot this season if he works out his contract. Additionally, King could operate as a kick returner. He is well-suited for Lovie Smith’s trademark Cover 2 scheme and intercepted 3 passes last year.

The former Los Angeles Chargers All-Pro selection and Iowa standout has 7 career interceptions. He has also played for the Tennessee Titans and joined the Texans on a one-year, $5 million contract last year.

What are they saying about King?

“You’re talking about a guy who hasn’t played [outside] corner since college,” Texans cornerbacks coach Dino Vasso said. “He took the move pretty well. Obviously, it’s not an easy transition, and I think if you polled everyone in this room and you asked what is Des’ optimal position, most would say nickel.

“But he was encouraged by that. He embraced it, and he did what was best for the team, and not necessarily what was best for Desmond King, and you win with football players like that.”

King intercepted his third pass of the season during a 23-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

“It is just simple,” King said after the 49ers game. “This defense is like a machine. Everybody has a job, everybody has what they need to do, and as long as they do that and take care of it, this defense can be unstoppable. We have seen it a couple games before just shutting people out and getting turnovers, and that is simply because guys are doing their jobs and being in the right place.”

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