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Malcolm Butler did not play on defense in Super Bowl 52

It seems more and more likely that he will end up hitting the market in March.

Super Bowl 52 was a wild shootout, with the Philadelphia Eagles beating the New England Patriots by a final score of 41-33. It was one of the most entertaining Super Bowls of all time in part because both defenses struggled in a big way.

The Patriots’ struggles in particular highlight an odd coaching decision. Cornerback Malcolm Butler, expected to command a sizable salary in free agency, was benched on defense. He played on special teams, but as far as I can tell, he never touched the field with the Patriots defense.

At halftime, Belichick said, “I made the decisions that give us the best chances to win.” It was clearly a coaches’ decision, and Butler was not pleased after the game.

Fooch’s update: Here’s another quotation from Butler. He’s not pleased.

Fooch’s update No. 2: And more comments

The Patriots could elect to use their franchise tag on Butler, but given his defensive DNP in the biggest game of the year, I would be surprised if they franchised him.

The San Francisco 49ers head into the offseason with a big need at cornerback. Butler and Trumaine Johnson are two of the biggest names in free agency. This year’s draft features some strong options as well, but with Ahkello Witherspoon as the 49ers only option on the outside, it might make sense to bring in a big time veteran.