Devin McCourty Leaning Toward Returning For 13th Season?

Following the Patriots’ opening-round loss, Devin McCourty did not commit to playing in 2022. But the veteran safety appears to be leaning in that direction.

The 12-year Patriots safety has not declared publicly he will return but has also not given any indication to those close to him retirement is on the table, Mike Reiss of notes. McCourty will turn 35 just before the 2022 season begins. That would make him one of the oldest active defensive players, but the longtime New England starter has also been one of the most durable, having not missed a game since the 2015 season.

McCourty played out the two-year, $23MM deal he inked in 2020, pushing him toward unrestricted free agency. The Patriots still have exclusive negotiating rights with McCourty. Despite the presences of Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips, McCourty played 94% of the Pats’ defensive snaps this season. New England has Dugger signed through 2023 and recently re-upped Phillips through 2024. Like McCourty, Phillips was on the cusp of free agency.

Twin brother Jason McCourty, who entered the NFL one year prior to Devin, played a 13th season in 2021. But he suffered an injury midway through his first Dolphins campaign, sidelining him for 10 games. Devin has never missed more than two in a season. He has also started 24 career postseason games — behind only Tom Brady, Jerry Rice and Peyton Manning in NFL history — factoring into his career mileage. Devin and Dont’a Hightower served as defensive pillars during the second leg of New England’s dynasty, but with both being free agents in March, the Pats have some decisions to make.

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