Devin McCourty was one of the Patriots who was flirting with retirement before the Super Bowl. Along with Rob Gronkowski, the eldest McCourty brother was unsure prior to the big game whether he would return to Foxboro in 2019.
He put all of those rumors to bed on Thursday, however, when he went on the Sports Spectrum Podcast.
“Yeah, I’m going to play,” McCourty stated.
The veteran safety went on to say, ” I think once you get a chance to step away for a couple of weeks, you’re like I still do want to be around these young guys that come in.”
There was a growing suspicion that if the Patriots won Super Bowl 53, the 31 year-old would ride off into the sunset with a third Lombardi. McCourty has a multitude of off-field activities, including his sickle-cell charity work. It made sense that a Super Bowl win would give the safety a good ending to a great career and an opportunity to focus his efforts on charitable pursuits.
McCourty signed a 5 year extension after the 2014 season, and at the time was the highest paid safety. If he does return to the Patriots, he will have a cap hit of $13.45 million for the 2019 season. This is obviously extremely high for an aging safety and not the team friendly contract the Pats prefer.
Assuming New England hangs on to McCourty, a contract restructure will undoubtedly be on the agenda. He is still a productive player, recording 82 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, and one pick-six this past season. More importantly, he is the heart and soul of the secondary, and is a perennial team captain.
The smart move for New England is to keep McCourty for his last season under contract. Of course, this hinges on a restructure, which would reduce his 2019 cap hit. Hopefully he will be open to the idea, since he already has plans on winning number seven for New England.
“If you play this game only for Super Bowls, you’re going to be very empty. Because as soon as you win it, it’s all about how you can win it next year. … You have to play for so much more,” he told the Sports Spectrum Podcast.
The new league season starts on March 14th, so this is when you can expect the majority of deals to go down. The Patriots would like to see if McCourty would take a pay cut before this however, so they can have a better idea of where they’re at financially.
This offseason promises to be a crazy one, and the Patriots are right in the thick of it. Restructuring Devin McCourty should be a top priority for New England, along with resigning his brother Jason. Hopefully with Devin back in a Pats uniform, the youngest McCourty will sign on for another year.
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