Veteran free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler, a two-time former New England Patriots Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl hero, is visiting the Texans on Friday, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
Butler retired last year with the Arizona Cardinals for personal reasons and 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 and has also played for the Tennessee Titans.
Butler is a two-time Super Bowl winner who famously intercepted a pass in the final seconds of a Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks as he picked off a Russell Wilson pass.
Butler (5-foot-9, 187 pounds) is an instinctive, experienced corner 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 and signed a five-year, $61 million contract with the Titans that included $30 million guaranteed.
In his first season with the Titans, Butler had 69 tackles, 12 pass deflections, three interceptions, a sack and a touchdown. He broke his wrist in 2019, returning for the 2020 season and intercepting four passes before being released in the offseason.
For his career, Butler has 406 career tackles, 17 interceptions, three sacks and five forced fumbles.
The Texans are working to retain free agent cornerback Desmond King, according to sources.
King was shifted to outside corner from nickel, but could return to the more natural nickel spot this season if he works out his contract and also operate as a kick returner.
He is well suited to Smith's trademark Cover 2 scheme, and intercepted three passes.
The former Los Angeles Chargers All-Pro selection and Iowa standout has seven career interceptions. He has also played for the Tennessee Titans and joined the Texans on a one-year, $5 million contract last year.
"You’re talking about a guy who hasn’t played 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.
King picked off 49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance.
“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."
Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and analyst and a contributor to Sports Talk 790.