The Patriots announced on Sunday night that Devin McCourty was returning to the team on a two-year deal, their second move of the weekend to retain a key veteran leader. The 10-year vet would've been an attractive free agency option to former Patriots coaches like Matt Patricia and Brian Flores, but New England never gave them the chance.
McCourty's move to safety back-boned three championships. He's missed just five games in his career and tied his second-highest interception total last season (five). He's developed into a versatile chess piece that can be played all over the secondary and is one of most visible locker room leaders.
It's a solid deal for D-Mac with $17 million guaranteed, and coming shortly after the Patriots had picked up an option for his brother, Jason. Now the entire secondary of 2019 is set to return. They're a veteran group, led by defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore, but Devin is the glue that holds it all together and it was hard to imagine this unit without him, on and off the field.
The team could still look to get younger at the safety position, especially with a very good draft class at the spot, but for now they'll look to their veteran trio as a base to build around. That's a pretty great starting point.
While the world waits on Tom Brady, the Patriot got off to a purposeful start to free agency by extending two core veterans before they hit the open market. With Ryan Tannehill signing an extension of his own with the TItans, it's looking more likely Brady will be back with the Patriots.
But even if he still were to depart, the team has done a good job protecting their defense, special teams and locker room.