After a slow start, he ended up playing 98 percent of New England's defensive snaps and finished the season with two interceptions.
The wait proved to be worth it for Malcolm Butler.
In the end, the money wasn't on their side.
The Tennessee Titans are making an unexpected move in free agency, but they're signing a player they know a little.
But Butler has a new home, in a place where he's clearly wanted: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Butler has agreed to a five-year, $61 million with the Tennessee Titans, with over $30 million guaranteed. Those reach numbers that would have been hard, if not almost impossible, to pair with Slay's deal since his cap hit rises to more than $15 million next season.
This battle, which reportedly included the Saints, all took place after Butler sat out his final game in New England for an unspecified reason.
The Patriots would go on to lose that game 41-33 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
After allowing Frank Gore to hit free agency, the Colts have a major need at running back and Lewis, who has proven to be a dynamic playmaker when healthy, is coming off of his best season in the NFL.
Lewis offers versatility and pass-catching ability for the Titans.
The competitive market for Lewis' services comes as little surprise, despite the fact he has played a full season just once since entering the league in 2011. For the first time in his career, he played all 16 games and had his most productive year. He's also been an important asset as a receiver, making 85 receptions the past three seasons (30 games) while catching almost 92 percent of his targets from Tom Brady last fall.