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Raiders reportedly showing interest in Patriots free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler

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NFL: AFC Championship-Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We’re minutes into the free agent negotiating period and the reports have begun already. The earliest report comes out of Boston where the Raiders are said to showing interest in Patriots free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler according to NBC Boston’s Mike Giardi.

Butler figures to be among the top cornerbacks in demand on the market. The Raiders are also said to be interested in free agent corner Trumaine Johnson, though it’s possible they won’t want to pay what he will command.

With the release of Sean Smith (who is now headed to jail for a year) and allowing TJ Carrie to test free agency, the Raiders are as thin as it gets at the corner position. The only returning player who figures to be a starter is last year’s top pick, Gareon Conley, who appeared in just two games as a rookie due to a shin injury.

Of the several talented cornerbacks who are headed for the market, Butler is the only one to be named to a Pro Bowl (2015). He also went from Super Bowl here in 2014 to benched for this year’s Super Bowl. Who really knows with New England players.

The Saints are also said to be interested in Butler as a free agent.