Patriots re-sign safety Devin McCourty to extension before free agency

Just before NFL free agency was set to begin, the New England Patriots re-signed a key player with multiple rings who has been a fixture of the team for a long time.

No, not that one.

The Patriots signed safety Devin McCourty to a two-year deal worth $23 million, $17 million of which was guaranteed according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The Patriots also re-signed special teams ace Matthew Slater to a two-year, $5.3 million deal according to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero. Re-signing McCourty is not locking up quarterback Tom Brady, but it’s still a key move for the Pats.

Devin McCourty is a key piece for Pats’ D

McCourty had wrestled with thoughts of retirement in the week leading up to Super Bowl LIII at the end of the 2018 season. He returned for 2019 and presumably plans to play through at least 2021.

McCourty is a key piece of the Patriots defense. He had five interceptions last season. He hasn’t missed a game since 2015. Even though he’ll turn 33 years old in August, his understanding of the game has allowed him to remain at an elite level.

Given the complexity of the Patriots defense from week to week, having someone like McCourty in the back end is invaluable. Now the Patriots don’t have to worry about losing the three-time Super Bowl champion.

New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty signed a two-year extension. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Big offseason for Patriots

The Patriots face an uncertain and crucial offseason.

Brady is at the forefront of that. A report on Sunday from Chris Simms of NBC Sports said the list of teams that could land Brady was down to New England and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, though we won’t know for certain until free agency begins. Teams can begin to contact players on Monday and sign players Wednesday. The league will not push back the start of free agency due to coronavirus concerns. With the rest of the sporting world mostly on hiatus, everyone will be focused on New England and what its plans are.

Before that madness starts, the Patriots gave a significant two-year deal to one of their leaders. Now it can concentrate on quarterback.

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