ARIZONA CARDINALS

CB Malcolm Butler sees himself as good fit for Arizona Cardinals’ defense

Aug 4, 2021, 11:18 AM | Updated: 11:29 am
Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) defends against the Houston Texans during the first...
Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) defends against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL football game in Houston, in this Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, file photo. The Arizona Cardinals added cornerback Malcolm Butler, Thursday, March 25, 2021, on a one-year deal in an effort to bolster a thin secondary.(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)
(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)

While defensive end J.J. Watt headlined the Arizona Cardinals’ free agency signings this offseason, cornerback Malcolm Butler may be the most important addition to the defense.

The 31 year-old brings physicality and a dog-like mentality to the defensive backfield.

Butler led all NFL cornerbacks with 100 total tackles last season.

That’s a lot compared his predecessor and former Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, who had only 61 total tackles.

Butler, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, believes his playstyle blends well with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s system.

“I think it’s a good fit because he plays multiple schemes, some man some zone. And I just fit it,” Butler told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Wednesday. “It was kind of tough to get the scheme at first, but once you put the time and effort in the playbook it comes quick.”

The Cardinals sure got the veteran corner at a bargain when they signed him to a one-year, $6 million deal in March.

The Mississippi native had one of the better statistical years of his career in 2020 for the Tennessee Titans. He tied a career-high with four interceptions and had a career-high 86 solo tackles, which was first among cornerbacks and tied for seventh in the NFL.

Butler has been in the playoffs five times throughout his seven-year career, including last season with the Titans.

He now joins a team that hasn’t seen the postseason in six years, but Arizona was on the cusp of ending that drought last season.

With a record of 8-6 and two weeks left in the season, the Cardinals needed to win just one game to make the NFC Wild Card. Their opportunity quickly dissolved into thin air, however, after they lost back-to-back games to the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams.

Butler hopes to bring postseason rain to the Valley.

“If you go back and look at [last season], some of the games were lost by simple mistakes,” Butler said. “If you just eliminate those mistakes, we can go 10-6. We can go 11-5. We can make the playoffs. We’ll have to see how it turns out, but I’m banking on us being in the playoffs.”

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