Jason McCourty isn’t being released by the Browns after all. The cornerback has been traded to the Patriots, according to an announcement from Cleveland. The deal will see McCourty and a seventh-round pick head to New England in exchange for the Patriots’ sixth-round choice.
The Browns announced on Thursday afternoon that they would be releasing McCourty. Quickly, speculation emerged about McCourty joining up with the Patriots, who are in need of a cornerback after losing Malcolm Butler to free agency. He’s going to New England, but it’s going to be via a trade rather than a free agent signing.
Browns GM John Dorsey said that he was moving on from McCourty because he wasn’t sure if he would make the team’s roster in September. That doesn’t necessarily jive with the rest of the league’s assessment of McCourty’s skills. Last year, he graded out as a top-30 cornerback in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. His play, according to the advanced metrics, was in line with his best seasons with the Titans in 2012 and 2013.
This, of course, will reunite Jason McCourty with twin brother Devin McCourty, who is entering his ninth season as a Patriots safety. The duo played together at Rutgers, with Jason entering the draft in 2009 and Devin following him a year later.
The McCourtys will turn 31 during Patriots training camp. But the Pats could use a replacement for Butler. They may opt to seek younger help in the draft or at least bolster their position, but a two-McCourty setup could be a common site for New England’s defense this coming season. The Pats still have Eric Rowe in the fold for 2018 as well.
This also continues the Patriots-Browns pipeline that’s been flowing for a bit. Cleveland acquired Jamie Collins from New England in 2016, and the Patriots added Barkevious Mingo from the Browns earlier that year. And last weekend, the Browns shipped Danny Shelton to the Pats.
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Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.