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Drew Butler Stays With Cardinals

Team extends punter before he reaches restricted free agency


The Cardinals have re-signed punter Drew Butler, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent.

Drew Butler will get a chance to remain the punter of the Cardinals.

Butler, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent next month, re-signed with the Cardinals Friday. Terms of the new contract were not disclosed.

Butler was originally signed in 2014 when injuries hampered Dave Zastudil. Butler handled punting most of that season,

and then beat out Zastudil in training camp of 2015. Butler only had to punt 60 times last season, averaging 42.9 yards a kick and 35.4 net. He had 22 punts downed inside the 20 and only six touchbacks.

He improved in the playoffs, averaging 48.9 yards a punt and netting 43.4, with three of his seven kicks downed inside the 20.

Butler remained a lightning rod with fans after his up-and-down 2014, which included a forgettable performance against the Panthers in the 2014 Wild Card playoff game. But coach Bruce Arians remained a staunch Butler defender all season, as Butler's showings got better.

"Early in the year, the statistics sometimes when you're pooch punting and kicking it away from certain people, your statistics won't be as good," Arians said in late November. "But I've got all the confidence in the world. He's got a great, talented leg and he's really developing a hell of a knuckleball."

The Cardinals could still add a punter this offseason to compete with Butler.

"Is Drew a good punter? Yeah, he's a good punter," special teams coordinator Amos Jones said prior to the NFC Championship. "I'm glad he's finally getting a little recognition off of what I think has been a good third year in the league. It's not his fault that people don't make tackles."

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