The New England Patriots have a into this offseason when it comes to their personnel. Of course, quarterback Tom Brady's is taking center stage, but another pillar to the second leg of this dynasty under Brady and head coach Bill Belichick is slated to hit the open market as well.
Longtime Patriots safety Devin McCourty is in position to become an unrestricted free agent later this spring. Unlike a season ago when he mulled retirement following New England's Super Bowl LIII victory, McCourty has full intention of playing in 2020.
"He wants to play. Retirement is not an option," McCourty's longtime agent Andy Simms of Young Money APAA Sports told Mike Reiss of ESPN.
With McCourty committed to 2020, the question now becomes where he'll actually be playing. Similar to Brady, New England is all McCourty knows in his NFL life, as he's been with the Patriots ever since they selected him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He's coming off a five-year, $47.5 million deal that paid him a base salary of $9 million in 2019, but there is certainly a question as to what his market will be like at age 32.
While a return to the Patriots isn't out of the question, he could have a number of suitors from across the league, simply due to the recent coaching turnover on Belichick's staff. Teams like the Dolphins (Brian Flores), Giants (Joe Judge), Titans (Mike Vrabel) and even the Lions (Matt Patricia) have connections to New England and have seen firsthand not only the talent of McCourty, but also his leadership.
Given that all four of those clubs will have more cap space than the Patriots -- who have plenty of other pressing needs along the active roster -- one would be right to wonder what would happen in the event that one of those teams comes in with a more lucrative offer. Would McCourty take a hometown discount to stick in Foxborough or would he reunite with a familiar face in an unfamiliar organization? Time will tell on that.
In any event, McCourty showed in 2019 that he's still among the better safeties in the NFL. He had five interceptions (his most since 2012), tied a career high with two forced fumbles and had 58 tackles for a defense that allowed the second-fewest totals yards during the regular season.