The New England Patriots actually have other free agents besides Tom Brady, and Devin McCourty is not thinking about retirement. Will he return to the Patriots?
You can't look for any news related to the New England Patriots without seeing at least ten stories related to Tom Brady's upcoming free agency, but sometimes we need to remember that the Patriots also have other marquee free agents that they will need to consider re-signing. Those names include starting left guard Joe Thuney, linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. Special teams ace Matthew Slater is a free agent he's considering retirement. And of course team captain and Pro Bowl safety Devin McCourtt is also looking for a new contract.
WBZ 4 - CBS Boston put out a report today that says Devin McCourty isn't even considering retirement and would like to continue playing football. Of course the question now is, does Devin McCourty finish his career with the New England Patriots or will be looking elsewhere?
"Devin McCourty wants to keep his NFL career going. The 32-year-old safety will be back for at least an 11th season in 2020. Time will tell if that’s with the New England Patriots, or if McCourty will continue his career with a new franchise.
“He wants to play,” McCourty’s agent, Andy Simms, told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “Retirement is not an option.”
Obviously McCourty has been a huge part of the Patriots Super Bowl winning teams since the Patriots drafted him with the 27th overall pick in 2010. But, at 32 years and in the twilight of his career, the question has to be asked, how much money will he be demanding and how much time will Bill Belichick want to invest into an aging cornerback? That also makes you wonder what the Patriots team is going to look like in 2020. There isn't a lot of money left to spend and there are a lot of familiar faces and staples of the team that probably will be moving on once free agency starts.
"With his five-year, $47.5 million contract coming to an end, McCourty will become a free agent on March 18. The Patriots could come to an agreement with their long-time defensive captain before that day, but the team has a bevvy of free agents this winter."
"The Patriots are projected to have $28 million in salary cap space, but Brady is expected to take up the majority of that figure should he re-sign. With the Miami Dolphins" (with roughly $90 million dollars in salary cap) and the New York Giants ( with $60 million) and with former Patriots assistants at the helm, they may be able to convince McCourty to finish his career outside of New England."
If McCourty did move on from New England I see that as one of the most deviating moves of the offseason, but unfortunately I don’t see a solution. I expect McCourty to garner a lot of attention on the open market, and I’m not sure that the Patriots would be able to match any offers other teams may make, and I don’t know if McCourty would be willing to take a home town discount to stay in New England. Devin’s twin brother Jason is still under contract with the Patriots, but I as I’ve said before, I feel like there is a very real possibility that Belichick will release him and save the $4 million in cap space. If that happens, the Patriots can not rely on Devin wanting to continue playing with his brother and I can’t help but wonder if we’ve seen the end of Devin McCourty in New England.
McCourty is still playing at high level. This season he defended five passes and also hauled in another five interceptions. McCourty is the “quarterback on defense”, and if his time really is over in New England, then the Patriots will have a lot to figure out defensively in 2020.