The Falcons have said they’ll be reasonably healthy heading into the 2023 regular season, which is excellent to hear. Their actions suggest that cornerback may be one of the spots on the roster where good health is not a given.
That’s because the team is dealing with injuries to starter Jeff Okudah and key backup Mike Hughes, leaving them a little thin despite the number of players they’ve piled up over the summer at cornerback. While Tre Flowers is expected to step into the starting lineup for Okudah, this team is clearly not feeling like it has the depth to weather an early season storm.
Enter, potentially, Malcolm Butler.
Butler hasn’t played in an NFL regular season game since 2020, but once upon a time he was a reliable starter for the Patriots and Titans and a Super Bowl hero once or twice. A one-time Pro Bowler with 17 career interceptions, Butler would presumably provide depth behind A.J. Terrell, Flowers, and Dee Alford alongside whichever young cornerbacks make the roster out of a list that includes Darren Hall and Natrone Brooks. His addition would likely be a short-term one, but if he signs and plays well in limited action, it should help his chances of landing another role.
We’ll see if the Falcons do bring in Butler, but obviously the fact that they’re considering it says to us that Okudah and Hughes are in doubt for a Week 1 tilt against the Panthers. The only fortunate note here besides Butler’s experience is that Carolina is banged up at wide receiver, as well.