Fantasy Football Reaction: Brice Butler Signs With The Cardinals
Brice Butler inking a deal with the Arizona Cardinals was most definitely one of the more under-the-radar free agency signings this offseason. However, I’m here to tell you why this move is intriguing and worth discussing.
Butler’s Athletic Profile
At 6’3″ and 213 pounds, Butler has the ideal size to play outside at the NFL level. And he entered the league with a fantastic athletic profile. Per our friends over at Player Profiler, Butler’s 4.42 40-Yard Dash put him in the 89th-percentile and his 114.7 Speed Score placed him in the 95th-percentile. Size is one thing. But it hardly matters without correlating athleticism that allows a player to separate from cornerbacks at the next level. These metrics tell us Butler has that sweet size and speed combination. Plus, Butler’s Burst Score and Catch Radius both placed him in the 90th-percentile or above. And his Agility Score was above average as well. What a prospect! So why hasn’t he done more in his NFL career to date!?
Flashes of Production At the NFL Level
Well, the simple answer to the above question is Butler was never given enough playing time in Oakland or Dallas to become a consistent producer. However, when he was given a chance to play early on in his career, Butler showed us flashes of NFL talent, particularly during his time as a Cowboy. Coincidentally enough, here are some monster plays he made against these Arizona Cardinals.
Butler posted over 21 yards per reception in two of his three years there. Plus, he scored three TDs in each of the last two seasons on just 55 targets combined.
Wide Open Depth Chart in Arizona
To some extent, all players are dependent upon landing spot. And that’s why the most intriguing development for Butler’s possible 2018 breakout campaign was the fact he signed with the Cardinals. Why? Well, the Cardinals depth chart looks to be more easily conquered. Instead of being stuck behind locked in #1 outside WR Dez Bryant, coaches pet Terrance Williams, and slot WR Cole Beasley, Butler now has a chance to lock down a prominent starting role. That’s because, after Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals WR depth chart is wide open. And even Fitz projects to play the majority of his snaps in the slot, which should not affect Butler and his outside the hashes skill set and will be 35 years old when the season starts.
With the J. Browns (both John and Jaron) departing this offseason, and the Michael Floyd experiment long over, the Cardinals outside WRs look nothing like they once did. (Pour one out for all of those Fitz vs. Brown vs. Floyd arguments circa 2016). And with John and Jaron gone, that leaves 124 targets from last season up for grabs. Butler has a solid chance to gobble up a lot of these vacated targets because he’s competing with diminutive 5’10”, 156 pounds J.J. Nelson and second-year pro Chad Williams, who only saw seven targets in his rookie season.
He Costs Nothing, So Why Not?
Unlike Chad Williams, who is still young and getting a feel for the NFL, Brice Butler will enter the 2018 season as a sixth-year veteran at 28 years old. This could be the year he truly hits his stride as a starting outside WR for the Arizona Cardinals. Butler has shown flashes of talent and now has a questionable pass catching depth-chart he can easily conquer. Plus, IF Sam Bradford can stay healthy, Butler’s QB situation is much better than the consensus and groupthink will try to lead you to believe.
Why not take a chance? After all, Butler can practically be had for free right now. Currently, his ADP does not even register at all over at Fantasy Football Calculator. If this were Storage Wars, Butler would be the dirt cheap locker that could potentially possess something of value allowing you to more than quadruple your initial investment. There just might be something here. Offseason reports and Butler’s progress during training camp and preseason are worth monitoring.