Jason McCourty

AFC East Notes: Jets, Lee, Allen, Fins

Rich Cimini of ESPN.com believes the Jets, who set a league spending record by doling out $137MM in total guarantees in free agency thus far, are very interested in trading down from their No. 3 overall pick to accumulate more draft capital. Despite its high-spending ways, New York still has a number of holes to fill, and with his QB of the future already in tow, GM Mike Maccagnan — who is under a ton of pressure this year — may look to add picks so that he can address those holes in the draft. After all, the Jets have only six picks in the draft at present, the third-fewest in the league.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • In the same piece linked above, Cimini writes that the Jets will look to shop linebacker Darron Lee during the draft. Lee is expendable now that C.J. Mosley is in the fold, and even if New York does not find any takers, Cimini does not think the club will cut Lee immediately. He suggests that the Jets could hold on to Lee in the hopes that another team suddenly finds itself in need of a young LB with a first-round pedigree, and he points out that New York was able to deal another disappointing first-round pick, Calvin Pyror, in a June trade several years ago.
  • The Patriots recently re-signed punter Ryan Allen to a one-year deal, but Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the club actually had a multiyear offer on the table. Allen, though, preferred the shorter option because he did not like the money he was being offered on the open market, and he wanted a chance to increase his worth on a prove-it deal. Reiss says, however, that New England could be more inclined to bring in competition for Allen, just as it did last season.
  • Reiss observes that cornerback Jason McCourty, who recently signed a two-year, $10MM pact to remain with the Patriots, did receive interest from several other clubs. McCourty had made it clear that he wanted to return to New England, so while he appreciated the opportunity to hit the open market at the start of free agency for the first time in his career, he is happy with how things turned out.
  • New Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has, predictably, refuted the talk that his team is tanking in 2019, and he would not concede that the club is embarking on a multiyear rebuild, either. As Grant Gordon of NFL.com writes, Flores told the NFL Network’s Judy Battista, “I think every team’s rebuilding. That’s this league. Every team rebuilds every year because no team is the same every year. I can tell you, we’re going to go try, gonna go out there and try to win every game. I think the foundation is there, and we’ll just, you know, like every other team we’re building.”

Contract Details: McCourty, Williams, Lewis

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed contracts:

Patriots To Re-Sign CB Jason McCourty

The Patriots will re-sign cornerback Jason McCourty to a two-year deal, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link).

McCourty made some waves by admitting that he’d contemplate retirement this offseason, but he’d since indicated he not only wanted to continue his career, but preferred to re-sign with the Patriots. That didn’t come as much of a surprise, as McCourty’s twin brother Devin is also expected back in New England next season.

New England acquired Jason McCourty from the Browns in exchange for a 14-slot drop in the sixth/seventh round of the 2018 draft, and he proved to be a valuable pickup. The former sixth-round pick played on 80% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps, grading as the No. 6 cornerback in the league, per Pro Football Focus. McCourty also ranked 21st among corners in Football Outsiders‘ success rate, meaning he was effective at stopping opposing wide receivers short of the sticks.

McCourty should line up opposite Stephon Gilmore as one of New England’s starting cornerbacks next season. Following his excellent 2018 season, McCourty should also be slated for a pay bump after collecting an average salary of just $2.375MM on his last deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason McCourty Wants To Re-Sign With Patriots

Jason McCourty is scheduled to hit the free agent market next month, and the veteran cornerback says his preference is to re-sign with the Patriots, according to Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston.

“First and foremost, if I could be back in New England and all of that works out, that would be awesome,” McCourty said. “That way it wouldn’t be the third consecutive year I had to move my family. That would be an advantage. But at the same time you realize how much of this is a business and how much of this isn’t dictated by (the feeling), ‘Hey, I just want to play here with my brother and the guys I built a relationship with.’ There’s so much more that goes into it.

“For me, (the approach will be) letting it play out. When March rolls around we’ll see where everything’s at and then at the end of the day we’ll see where the opportunities are and then make a decision.”

McCourty, 31, announced earlier this week that he’ll continue his career in 2019, although he told Curran that he never actually considered retirement in the first place. Instead, McCourty was only answering questions about the future of his career because his twin brother — New England safety Devin McCourty — said earlier this year that he was contemplating hanging up his cleats. Devin has since announced he’ll play next season, and is under contract with the Patriots for one more year.

New England acquired Jason McCourty from the Browns in exchange for a 14-slot drop in the sixth/seventh round of the 2018 draft, and he proved to be a valuable pickup. The former sixth-round pick played on 80% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps, grading as the No. 6 cornerback in the league, per Pro Football Focus. McCourty also ranked 21st among corners in Football Outsiders‘ success rate, meaning he was effective at stopping opposing wide receivers short of the sticks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots’ Jason McCourty To Continue Playing

Safety Devin McCourty is set to continue playing in 2019, and so is his brother, cornerback Jason McCourty. Jason, who also said that he would consider retirement, wants to take the field again in the fall (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com). 

[RELATED: Devin McCourty To Play In 2019]

The two brothers are not necessarily in the same boat, however. Devin is set to earn a $9MM base salary with the Patriots in 2019. Meanwhile, Jason is scheduled for free agency in March.

Jason, 32 in August, appeared in 16 games with 12 starts for the Patriots last season. He registered 70 total stops and ten passes defensed, showing that he still has plenty left in the tank.

For his work, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the sixth-best cornerback in the NFL last season with an career-best score of 82.3.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

McCourty Brothers Considering Retirement?

Devin McCourty isn’t the only member of the family considering retirement. Devin’s brother, Jason McCourty, is also considering retirement, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears. 

Devin was the first McCourty family member to go public with his desire to retire, but Jason is actually more likely to call it quits, Rapoport reports. Jason is set to hit free agency and he may walk away if he’s put in a spot where he has to change teams. Devin, meanwhile, is set to earn a $9MM base salary, and he could lean towards walking away if he is asked to take a pay cut.

I don’t know for sure, man, but I do look at (retirement),McCourty said recently. “If we can win this game, win it with my brother [Jason McCourty], I don’t know what else I could do that’ll top that. So I’m just trying to make sure I enjoy this season and enjoy these last couple days with these guys.”

Of course, the outcome of tonight’s game could also impact their decision. A Super Bowl win may prompt both brothers to ride off into the sunset.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: McCoy, Bills, Wake, Pats

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says the odds of the Bills trading any veterans — like RB LeSean McCoy, whose name has recently surfaced in trade rumors — are very slim. La Canfora writes that it would take a “bounty” to pry McCoy or Jerry Hughes away from Buffalo, as the team considers both players, who are both signed beyond this season to club-friendly deals, to be vital veteran components of its rebuild. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com agrees, saying it could take as much as a second-round draft pick to land McCoy.

Now let’s round up a few more notes from the AFC East, starting with more from Orchard Park:

  • This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Rapoport tweets that the Bills have no intention of playing newly-acquired signal-caller Derek Anderson, barring injury. Anderson is with the club to tutor rookie QB Josh Allen, not to take any of his playing time.
  • From the “something to keep an eye on” department, Jenna Cottrell of 13 WHAM tweets that Allen asked wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin if he wanted to work on routes during pregame warm-ups today, and Benjamin told him no. The Bills acquired Benjamin at the trade deadline last year but have not gotten much production out of him, and he does not appear especially motivated to perform well in his platform year.
  • Dolphins DE Cameron Wake recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery but could be back as soon as next week, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Normally such a procedure would require a four-week recovery period, but Wake is such a quick healer that he may make it back in a fraction of that time.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes that Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty is on pace to recoup the money that he lost when he agreed to a pay cut before the regular season. New England gave him the opportunity to make up the difference via incentives, and McCourty is well on his way to hitting those incentives. The same cannot be said for Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, however.
  • Reiss also notes that Kenjon Barner, who has been shuttled on and off of the Patriots‘ roster several times since September 12, may have a little more job security right now. Barner’s former club, the Eagles, are very much in need of RB help, and the Pats know that if they cut Barner again, they may not get him back.
  • Darryl Slater of NJ.com tweets that Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers, who is dealing with a serious illness, is on the sidelines for the team’s game against the Colts today. It does not sound as if he has resumed his coordinator responsibilities yet, but it is a good sign nonetheless.

Patriots’ Jason McCourty Restructures Deal

Jason McCourty represents a versatile part of the Patriots’ secondary, having added safety work to his usual cornerback preparation responsibilities during the preseason. He made another change just before the start of the regular season as well.

The Patriots and McCourty agreed to a restructured deal that will see the veteran defender’s base salary drop but his 2018 cap number increase. McCourty will trim his 2018 base from $2.375MM to $1.6MM in exchange for up to $1MM in playing-time incentives and $400K in per-game roster bonuses, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

McCourty’s playing-time incentives are broken up into $200K increments. Seeing 40 percent of New England’s defensive snaps will net the 10th-year veteran $200K, while playing in half of the Pats’ snaps will net McCourty an additional $200K. Sixty percent, 70 percent and 80 percent represent the ensuing benchmarks, with 80 percent meaning McCourty — who played six snaps in Week 1 — would collect $1MM total of this incentive package.

A $150K increase to McCourty’s roster bonus also comes as part of this adjustment, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets. McCourty’s cap number will because of this restructure, with Volin noting (via Twitter) the 31-year-old defensive back’s number now represents $3.382MM after previously residing at $2.975MM on the Patriots’ cap sheet.

New England lost second-round pick Duke Dawson to an injury that relegated him to IR, opening possible snaps for McCourty. But he’s a backup for the time being, despite having started 104 career games and being a full-time first-stringer from 2011-17.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Rumors: Trades, McCourty, Tobin

The free agency defection of Danny Amendola, the trade of Brandin Cooks, the releases of Kenny Britt and Jordan Matthews, and potentially the advancing age of a now-32-year-old Julian Edelman leave the Patriots somewhat vulnerable at wide receiver. Might the NFL’s most trade-happy team consider one to bolster perhaps Tom Brady‘s final receiving corps? Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests (via NBC Sports Boston) one that would be quite the blockbuster, even if it could be a tad of a reach.

Describing “a weird sense coming out of Denver as it relates to Demaryius Thomas,” Florio posits a Thomas-to-the-Patriots trade. While prefacing this with the fact that said weird sense might not end up being meaningful regarding Thomas’ Broncos status, Florio points out Patriots OC Josh McDaniels drafted Thomas in 2010 and the Pats suddenly need receivers more than the Broncos appear to. That said, the 30-year-old wideout is one of the best players in Broncos history, and John Elway trading a key player to the Patriots may not be realistic. The Broncos have liked what they’ve seen from Courtland Sutton and fourth-rounder DaeSean Hamilton this preseason, and Denver cut the cord on Super Bowl starter T.J. Ward to save money after the 2017 preseason. But the Broncos picked up Thomas’ 2018 option — he’s attached to an $8.5MM base salary and $12MM cap number — and have struggled for years to develop receiving depth. Thomas is, however, due a non-guaranteed $14MM next season, the final year of his contract. So, he very well could be entering the last season of his Broncos tenure.

Here’s the latest out of New England:

  • The Broncos don’t have a clear pipeline to the Patriots, but the Bob Quinn-run Lions do. And Mike Reiss of ESPN.com suggests a possible Golden Tate-to-New England transaction between Belichick and one of his former lieutenants. Reiss posits a deal involving contract-year defensive tackle Malcom Brown and linebacker Elandon Roberts but estimates the Lions probably wouldn’t part with Tate, even though he’s in a contract year and no substantial extension discussions have occurred. Tate, 30, is set to earn $7MM in base salary this season.
  • While his twin brother’s been one of the NFL’s top safeties for a while, Jason McCourty‘s worked as a cornerback. However, the offseason trade acquisition began practicing at safety this week and lined up there in Friday night’s preseason game, Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston notes. Bill Belichick said (via NESN.com) McCourty’s safety reps were about gauging possibilities rather than a permanent move. McCourty also saw time at corner Friday night. New England houses Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung at safety and less experience at corner after Malcolm Butler‘s departure, but it appears Belichick will determine his newer McCourty’s versatility.
  • Isaiah Wynn‘s injury creates a void for the Patriots at swing tackle for the time being, and 2018 UFA addition Matt Tobin saw time as Trent Brown‘s backup at left tackle. The former Eagles cog may find a way onto New England’s 53-man roster because of Wynn’s season-ending injury, per Perry. The Pats have LaAdrian Waddle as a swing tackle, but with Tobin having extensive guard experience, he might bring sufficient value as a bench option at multiple spots.

AFC Notes: Browns, Pats, McCourty

The Browns were seemingly dealt a big blow last week when receiver Antonio Callaway was arrested. News of the arrest came right after the team had traded away Corey Coleman to the Bills, and not too long after Josh Gordon left the team for an indefinite period of time. Callaway seemed poised to start as a rookie, but his arrest clouded the whole situation.

Callaway apparently did not inform the team of his arrest, and the Browns only found out through media reports. Many speculated the Browns would discipline him internally for failing to tell the team about the incident, but it appears no suspension will be forthcoming. Coach Hue Jackson said after practice today that the team’s punishment for Callaway was playing him nearly the entire game in the preseason opener, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal (Twitter link). It seems like Callaway dodged a bullet, as many organizations would’ve been a lot more displeased with his failure to inform them of his situation.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The Patriots may have traded for cornerback Jason McCourty back in March, but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to make the team. McCourty is on the “roster bubble” according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, who writes that New England currently has a logjam at corner. Reiss thinks McCourty’s lack of special teams contributions could cost him the opportunity to suit up on the same team as his twin brother Devin McCourty, a safety for the Patriots.
  • Speaking of AFC East roster bubbles, tight end Nick O’Leary is a “surprise cut candidate” for the Bills, according to Joe Buscaglia of Buffalo 7. Buscaglia writes that O’Leary was “once thought of as a shoe-in for the 53-man roster”, but has now been demoted to the third-team offense in practice and very well may find himself cut. The 2015 sixth-rounder caught 22 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns last season.
  • As a result of Jalen Ramsey‘s suspension by the Jaguars, the guarantees in his contract could void writes former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry (Twitter link). Although it shouldn’t end up mattering for a player of Ramsey’s caliber, it’s a fascinating look into how quickly all the guarantees in a player’s contract can go out the window in the NFL.