Cards punter Drew Butler remains patient as free agency approaches

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Patience isn’t just a virtue for Arizona Cardinals punter Drew Butler. It’s become his motto as he approaches his first free agency.

Butler, who will be an unrestricted free agent on March 9 after spending the past two seasons as the Cardinals’ punter, realizes his future with the team is out of his control.

“It’s my first time really ever going through this,” Butler said. “I bounced around the first couple years.

“I’m staying patient, absolutely. There’s really no better place to stay patient in than Arizona during the winter. So just really relaxing. I’ll start working out here in the next couple of weeks and get ready for 2016.”

Butler said the only conversation he had about his future with the Cardinals came during his exit interview with coach Bruce Arians, and called it “preliminary.”

“I’m letting everything work out the way it will,” Butler said. “Hopefully everything will take care of itself.”

Butler was confident that he showed the Cardinals he was worthy of a new contract, especially with his play during his final 12 game, when he averaged 43.9 yards and 36.2 net yards per punt. He ranked in the top 10 in punt touchbacks and punts that landed inside the 5-yard line, and was 11th in punts downed inside the 20.

Butler hopes his relationships with both special teams coordinator Amos Jones and kicker Chandler Catanzaro help his cause.

“I think B.A. knows how well we work together,” Butler said. “I just want to be able to let those guys know -- B.A. and [general manager] Steve [Keim] and Amos -- that I can be their guy for years to come, so hopefully I kind of delivered that through my play really all season long.”

Butler, who made $585,000 in 2015, hopes his next contract with the Cardinals will provide stability that he’s been longing for since signing as an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012.

He’s on the verge of it but is forcing himself to remain patient.

“It’s great because you work super hard just to try to get that stability, and now to have the opportunity to get a little more stability, especially with my wife out here and how much we enjoy it out here,” Butler said. “It’s what you work toward when you first try to break into the league, and then when you finally have that opportunity to get your hands on whatever kind of stability you can get in this league, which everybody knows it’s always fickle, it’s a blessing and it’s something you work really hard toward.”