Devin McCourty

Patriots Re-Sign Brian Hoyer

Brian Hoyer‘s second stint with the Patriots has been extended. The quarterback has agreed to a two-year, $4MM deal according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Patriots Re-Sign Devin McCourty]

Hoyer’s third stint with the Patriots will continue. Hoyer was brought in last year to mentor Mac Jones and played a role in the rookie’s development. Now, heading into Year Two, the Pats may have a top-10 caliber QB in Jones and a steady veteran backstop behind him.

Brian’s been a really close friend of mine since I’ve gotten here, and I know he’s older than me, and [I] might be closer in age to his son, Garrett, but he’s still a really good mentor, and he just does a great job every week,” Jones said in October (via Jim McBride of The Boston Globe). “He’s super supportive of me and trying to help me in any way he can, and, you know, he’s hard on me sometimes, which is good, so he holds me to a high standard, and then he also has fun and enjoys the game, so he’s been around for a long time, and I think all the quarterbacks in our room have done that, and Brian is just a great example of a great team leader and a great team player.’’

Hoyer, entering his 14th pro year, saw time in five games last year, completing nine of eleven passes. He’ll be re-joined by guard/center James Ferentz, who also agreed to a new deal on Monday, per McBride.

Pats Re-Sign Veteran DB Devin McCourty

The Patriots are bringing back veteran defensive back Devin McCourty for another season, according to the twins’ joint-Twitter account earlier this evening. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the older twin will be returning on a one-year deal worth $9MM. 

McCourty has started every game he’s ever played for the Patriots. Over his 12-year career, McCourty has appeared in 188 regular season games and 24 playoff games, only missing 5 games throughout his career. While he’s never quite matched the production of his rookie year when he intercepted 7 passes and broke up 17, he has long been a staple in the New England secondary, never failing to secure an interception in a season.

The Patriots tend to play three safeties and two corners on defense a lot of the time. Relying on J.C. Jackson and Jalen Mills to lock down outside receivers, McCourty, Adrian Phillips, and Kyle Dugger are able to roam around and cover based on matchups and formations. The trio of safeties produced 11 interceptions between them, with Dugger coming on strong in his second season. The Patriots would love to see Dugger seamlessly step in when the 34-year-old McCourty decides to hang up the cleats.

With Jackson heading to the open market, the Patriots’ cornerbacks cupboard is looking pretty bare. Behind Mills is third-year corner Joejuan Williams and reserve corner Justin Bethel. McCourty’s experience at corner could be useful, but should be thought of as a last resort, as most corners move to safety in their advanced age, not the other way around. More likely the Patriots will look to the Draft and free agency to fill that hole.

Regardless, the Patriots bring back a leader. A durable one. He may not be able to produce on the field like he did in the 2010’s, but his role as the quarterback of the secondary makes him a valuable addition to the team’s 2022 defense.

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 ESPN.com 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.

AFC East Rumors: Jets, Cunningham, McCourty, Dolphins

The Jets wasted no time in 2019 when wide receiver Braxton Berrios was waived by the Patriots just prior to the 2019 NFL season. The fourth-year player from the University of Miami was tabbed early in his Jets’ tenure as Jamison Crowder‘s back up in the slot, but Rich Cimini, of ESPN, details how Berrios’s effectiveness running and returning the ball could net him a bigger contract than his fellow slot receivers.

The first-team All Pro return man hits free agency this offseason and it’ll be interesting to see how those talks play out.

Here are a few more notes on the AFC East, starting with another item out of the Tri-State area:

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer has recognized the Eagles’ director of player personnel, Ian Cunningham, as a potential future general manager. The Jets, specifically, have tried twice to bring him on, as he and Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas are both products of the Ozzie Newsome tree from their time with the Ravens.
  • As the Patriots’ season came to an end with last night’s blow out loss to the Bills, ESPN’s Mike Reiss brings forth the question of Devin McCourty‘s future. The New England mainstay has been a lynchpin of the Patriots’ defense for 12 years. But, at age 34 with an expiring contract, what does the future hold for the Boston-based twin.
  • Cornerback Xavien Howard put enough pressure on the Dolphins in August that they restructured his contract with a few rewarding incentives. Howard made sure to cash out. Howard added to his salary $1MM for making the Pro Bowl and another $1MM for playing at least 90% of Miami’s defensive snaps. Barry Jackson, of the Miami Herald, details the situation in his Sports Buzz column.

Patriots’ Devin McCourty To Return In 2021

Retirement can wait for Devin McCourty. The Patriots safety first pondered walking away two years ago, but that’s not a consideration as he looks ahead to 2021.

I’m still enjoying football,” McCourty said (Twitter link via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com). “I plan on playing next year. Just trying to finish out these two games the best way I can, and then when the offseason hits, evaluate and all that stuff. But still feel pretty healthy and love going out there and competing.”

McCourty re-upped with the Pats last year on a two-year, $23MM deal. The final season of that pact will pay an $8MM base salary, including $4MM guaranteed if he’s on the roster on March 20. The 33-year-old has little left to prove, but the end of the Patriots’ AFC East title streak may have reignited his fire.

The former Rutgers star first entered the league as a first-round pick of the Patriots back in 2010. He’s been with them ever since, capturing three Super Bowls along the way. He’s also been an incredibly consistent presence on the field, starting at least 14 games in all eleven of his pro seasons.

Throughout his career, McCourty has always ranged from good to great, and he racked up five interceptions in 2019, his most since 2012. This year, with two games to go, he has two interceptions, including his October pick six against the Niners.

Dolphins, Lions Made Offers To Devin McCourty

The Patriots brought back their secondary anchor at the start of this week, but two teams run by ex-Patriots staffers made a run at the veteran safety.

Both the Dolphins and Lions submitted offers to Devin McCourty, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports. While this should not be viewed as unexpected, given the number of ex-Pats on these respective teams, it helps explain McCourty’s value. The 32-year-old defender signed a two-year, $23MM Patriots deal with $17MM guaranteed.

Brian Flores coached McCourty from 2012-15, as the Pats’ safeties coach. Matt Patricia was New England’s defensive coordinator during those seasons, serving in that post from 2012-17 before taking the Detroit job. The Pats picked up Jason McCourty‘s 2020 option, however, factoring into Devin’s decision.

The Dolphins recently released safety Reshad Jones, whom the team selected in the same draft the Pats took McCourty, but have Eric Rowe and Bobby McCain at safety. Miami also authorized a massive contract for Byron Jones, who joins $15MM-per-year cornerback Xavien Howard. The Lions traded Quandre Diggs during the 2019 season, but shortly after McCourty chose the Pats, ex-Patriots exec Bob Quinn traded for longtime McCourty teammate Duron Harmon.

Patriots Re-Sign S Devin McCourty

The Patriots are re-signing a veteran team leader… but it’s not Tom Brady. New England is bringing back safety Devin McCourty on a two-year deal worth $23MM, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Rapsheet adds that McCourty will get $17MM guaranteed with his new pact. Way back in January of 2019 McCourty announced that he was considering retirement, but he obviously ended up playing the 2019 season and said recently that he intended to play in 2020 as well. As Rapoport points out this will likely allow McCourty to finish his career with the Patriots as well as alongside his identical twin brother Jason McCourty, a cornerback with the Patriots.

McCourty, 32, entered the league as a first-round pick of the Patriots back in 2010 and has been with the team ever since. He’s won three Super Bowls with them, and is an important voice in the locker room. He’s also been an incredibly consistent presence on the field, starting at least 14 games in all 10 of his pro seasons.

His performance has always ranged from good to great, and he racked up five interceptions this past year, his most since 2012. He’s been named a second-team All-Pro selection on three occasions. We had heard a couple of weeks ago that the Dolphins were going to be interested in him had he hit the open market. Jason is under contract for 2020 after the Pats recently picked up his option.

East Notes: Fins, Tua, Peters, Anderson

We heard back in January that the Dolphins may pursue some of the Patriots’ top FAs, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the ‘Fins are indeed expected to go after guard Joe Thuney. Miami also has interest in Devin McCourty, Ted Karras, and Kyle Van Noy, though the extent of that interest is unclear.

Per Jackson, the Dolphins are also high on former Patriots CB Logan Ryan, who spent the last three years with the Titans. And Ryan would seriously consider joining up with Miami if the club does make an effort to sign him.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions, starting with another item out of South Beach:

  • Recent reports have suggested that the Dolphins are cooling on Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and that the team is resigned to the fact that he will be off the board by the time they’re on the clock with the No. 5 overall pick. Jackson says Miami gave Tagovailoa the cold shoulder at the combine, but that was likely just a ploy to suggest that they’re not interested when they really are, and draft gurus Todd McShay and Daniel Jeremiah still expect the Fins to land Tagovailoa.
  • Eagles head coach Doug Pederson may want LT Jason Peters back, but the team’s brass as a whole is split as to whether to re-sign Peters or move forward with 2019 first-rounder Andre Dillard, as Albert Breer of SI.com reports. The money they save on a new Peters contract could be re-invested in the rest of the O-line, so Philly could choose to move on from the 38-year-old free agent.
  • Although Robby Anderson may find himself as the best receiver on the free agent market, the Jets are still expected to try to re-sign him. But according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv, New York will not pursue a re-up unless Anderson’s price goes no higher than $10MM per year.
  • John Keim of ESPN.com takes a stab at how the Redskins will spend their money in free agency. Unsurprisingly, he believes Washington will target CB, TE, WR, and RB.

AFC East Notes: Jets, OL, Patriots, Kilgore

Add the Jets to the teams in the James Bradberry market. Cornerback resides among the many needs in New York, and the Jets are “very interested” in the Panthers starter, Connor Hughes of The Athletic reports (subscription required). Twenty-two teams have expressed some degree of interest on Bradberry, per Hughes. This includes the Redskins, now run by longtime Panthers coach Ron Rivera. The Giants are interested, but Hughes notes the No. 1 cornerback price tag will likely push them out of the running.

Here is the latest from the AFC East, first moving to other Jets rumors from Indianapolis:

  • A high probability exists the Jets will be the rare team to replace its entire starting offensive line. Week 1’s front five — Kelvin Beachum, Kelechi Osemele, Ryan Kalil, Brian Winters and Brandon Shell — are either unlikely to be back or certainties (in Osemele’s case) not to return, and Hughes notes that the Jets are eyeing four new O-line starters. Alex Lewis, a 2019 trade get who took over after Osemele’s injury, is a free agent but could be the player from last year’s front retained. The Jets are eyeing guards Joe Thuney and Graham Glasgow, per Hughes. While the Jets want to come away with a high-end free agent — they are also in on Jack Conklin — GM Joe Douglas will look to the draft to fill much of the O-line needs, Hughes adds. This points to Gang Green being in the market for this atypically stacked tackle class at No. 11.
  • Thuney is expected to cost at least $14MM, with Jeff Howe of The Athletic adding his bidding could push a guard-high $15MM. The Patriots have seen Nate Solder and Trent Brown sign O-line-record money the past two offseasons; they are not expected to try to keep Thuney. Even Thuney’s backup could have a big market. Ted Karras, a full-time starter only in 2019, may be set to earn command a near-$10MM-AAV deal, per Howe. That would be a good indication of the recently seller-happy O-line market hitting another level.
  • The Jets have also been in the market for edge rushers for years, finishing second in 2018’s Khalil Mack sweepstakes and seeing a player they wanted to turn into an edge defender — Anthony Barr — renege on a deal at the 11th hour. League sources expect Gang Green to target Dante Fowler, Hughes notes. The Rams’ bevy of big contracts will likely limit them from franchise-tagging Fowler. The Jets are also interested in Matt Judon, though the Ravens are likely to tag him. He could be a tag-and-trade option, however.
  • Despite their desperation for edge help, the Jets are not expected to be in the Jadeveon Clowney market. An issue with what some Texans sources described as a “cavalier attitude” made Douglas leery of pursuing a Clowney trade last year and has him looking elsewhere for outside linebacker aid, per Hughes. Clowney’s price tag figures to be immense. The Jets hold $49MM-plus in cap space but have many needs.
  • Optimism exists Devin McCourty will be back in New England on a third contract, Howe adds. McCourty and the Patriots are expected to meet before week’s end. The standout safety has spent all 10 seasons of his career in New England. With Jason McCourty still under contract, Devin returning to the Pats should not exactly surprise.
  • Like the Jets, the Dolphins could have a retooled offensive front. They are looking around for centers to replace Daniel Kilgore, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Kilgore has started 17 games since signing with the Dolphins in 2018. Releasing him in the final year of his contract would save the Dolphins $4MM.

FA Notes: Clowney, Conklin, Patriots, Jones

This year’s edge rusher free agency class could be especially deep, depending on how certain teams proceed with their respective franchise tags. But that doesn’t apply to the biggest name. Jadeveon Clowney cannot be tagged and is on track to test the market, and said market may be taking shape at the Combine. Thus far in the process, the Colts and Giants are two teams who have surfaced in connection to Clowney. Both could have interest in the former No. 1 overall pick, per Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Both teams feature edge rusher needs, the Giants more than the Colts, and each holds north of $70MM in cap space.

The Seahawks, however, are not out of the mix. Clowney said (via Anderson, on Twitter) after spending a season in Seattle he would “definitely” like to stay, though the six-year veteran pass rusher added he is open to relocating. Seahawks GM John Schneider confirmed (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson) the team wants Clowney back. Seattle has both Clowney and defensive tackle Jarran Reed as free agents, leaving major holes on the team’s defensive line.

Here is the latest from the free agent market:

  • With major needs up front, the Jets are expected to make several additions this offseason. They have expressed serious interest in Jack Conklin, according to Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com. A four-year starter at right tackle in Tennessee, Conklin will be coveted by many teams and will command a top-market contract. The Jets have deployed a bottom-tier offensive line for years, and the Titans having Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry as looming UFAs will likely send Conklin out of town.
  • The Patriots, who extended Shaq Mason in 2018, are preparing to lose his longtime guard mate. Joe Thuney has been expected to leave since last year’s Combine, per Doug Kyed of NESN.com. Approximately 20 teams have the four-year Patriots starter on their respective radars, Pauline adds. A market like this, coupled with the CBA potentially set to see record cap spikes in the coming years, likely puts Thuney in line to eclipse Lane Johnson‘s $14.1MM guard-record pact.
  • However, the Pats are not giving up on retaining some of their other key free agents. They have spoken with the representatives of Devin McCourty and Jamie Collins, Kyed notes. McCourty played out a five-year extension signed back in 2015, while Collins re-established his value on a low-level Pats accord. The latter will likely be looking for a deal closer to the $12MM-plus pact he inked with the Browns in 2017.
  • Although Chris Harris is the most accomplished cornerback on this year’s market and rated higher by some outlets, Byron Jones is viewed by corner-needy teams as the top prize at the position this year, Pauline notes. At 27, Jones is three years younger than Harris. The Cowboys are likely set to let Jones walk, having authorized numerous recent extensions and are set for crunch-time negotiations with Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Jones is expected to see big offers from multiple teams, per Pauline, and is almost certainly set to raise the bar from its longstanding place at $15MM per year.