At the age of 32, longtime New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty is a free agent. Should he stay or should he go?
McCourty was drafted by the Patriots in 2010 and has been in New England for the entirety of his career to this point, and has perennially been one of the best players on the team.
2019 was no different, as McCourty had one of the best seasons of his career. He grabbed five interceptions, deflected seven passes, forced two fumbles and also had a fumble recovery. The fact that he didn’t make either All-Pro team or the Pro Bowl is a testament to the vast array of top-tier safeties in the NFL right now, but anyone who knows football will tell you that McCourty is among the elite.
The stats don’t do justice to how much Devin McCourty impacts the defense of the New England Patriots. As the free safety in New England’s primarily man-to-man defensive scheme, McCourty is usually the only player with the responsibility of covering the deep part the field on a consistent basis. Much of New England’s success on that side of the ball has come thanks to McCourty’s intelligence and discipline.
The 2019 defensive player of the year in the NFL, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, has McCourty to thank in large part for his amazing season. Gilmore’s dominance was enhanced by McCourty’s ability to always be in right spot downfield. The top-notch play of these two is the biggest component to the secondary of the New England Patriots being one of the best units in the NFL.
Needless to say Devin McCourty plays at a high level on the field, but his leadership is also massive. Whether it’s in the pregame huddle or rallying on the sideline, McCourty can constantly be seen pumping his teammates up. That is almost as hard to replace as his on-field presence.
Re-sign Devin McCourty!
The Patriots currently have about $44 million available in cap space. Any offer the team will make to McCourty certainly won’t be long-term given his age. However, given his level of play last season it would be fair to give him a similar annual salary to the five-year, $47 million contract he signed for in 2015.
Assuming that happens, Devin McCourty would make roughly $9 million per season. Obviously the length of the contract will depend on how much longer McCourty wants to keep playing, but it’s hard to imagine it being beyond two years since he is nearing the end of his career either way.
Two years at around $18 million total for one of the best safeties in football is reasonable. However, that’s just a baseless idea; perhaps the team will look at McCourty’s age as a reason to try lowering the dollar count.
Regardless, ensuring that Devin McCourty plays his whole career in New England should be among the top priorities for the New England Patriots in the offseason. He has been a cornerstone for the team ever since he was drafted, and he has yet to truly lose a step. It would be a shame to see him play his final seasons somewhere else.