Late in the afternoon on Monday, word came out from James Jones that the Cardinals and wide receiver Brice Butler had agreed to a two-year deal. The move was reported over Twitter by Jones.
— James Jones (@89JonesNTAF) April 2, 2018
Butler was drafted by the Raiders in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft. The receiver began his college career with USC but transferred after his junior season and landed with San Diego State for his final year. He was not a widely used player in college but showed his speed and playmaking ability enough to warrant being drafted.
His five seasons in the NFL have closely followed his college time. Butler has not been targeted more than 35 times in any season, and has yet to finish a year with more than 21 receptions. While his numbers have not shown much reason for excitement, Butler has shown flashes of brilliance with acrobatic catches and big plays. He averaged over 20 yards per catch in two of the last three years. For an Arizona team in search of playmaking ability, Butler could be a major player.
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New Scene, New Player?
The last three seasons for Butler has been spent in Dallas. Playing behind Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, and Terrance Williams, are a major factor in the underwhelming numbers. What also hurt was the lack of consistent four receiver sets that are employed by Dallas, who typically uses three receivers and tight end Jason Witten in passing situations.
The move to Arizona may be just what is needed to jumpstart Butler’s career. His two-year deal seems to show appreciation for what the receiver brings from the front office’s point of view. Butler likely competes for the WR2/WR3 spots on the depth chart, in a position group looking to make major overhauls. Butler now gets to learn from a living legend in Larry Fitzgerald and grow with a new coaching staff and new team.
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What Comes Next?
The move for Butler is a move to add another body to the receiver room to compete for playing time. With a new coaching staff and teammates, Butler will be expected to make plays downfield and become a threat in the passing game. The signing does not put an end to possible looks at other receivers in the free agent market. The team had been talking to Jordan Matthews prior to the move, but no news have come out regarding an agreement.
The draft is just three weeks away but the Cardinals have work to do. This week started offseason programs for Arizona so the work has begun in the desert. Brice Butler is the newest Cardinals player, but time will tell if he can make an impact
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