Free agency is still a couple of weeks away but moves are starting to be made around the league. One minor one involving the Patriots took place Wednesday.
According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Patriots intend to pick up Jason McCourty's team option for 2020, which will could earn him roughly $3.8 million with a cap hit around $5.5 million.
Obviously the first thing that comes to mind when hearing the news is perhaps this will serve as an added incentive for his twin brother, Devin, to return to the Patriots. Devin McCourty is set to hit the free agency market March 18, and according to the Miami Herald the Dolphins are expected to make a run at the veteran safety.
Jason McCourty joined Stephon Gilmore and J.C Jackson in a three-man cornerback rotation on the outside while Jonathan Jones played mostly in the slot in 2019. McCourty missed much of the stretch drive with a nagging groin problem, though, and Jackson emerged as the starter.
McCourty underwent surgery to repair the groin issue earlier in the offseason after missing five of the last seven games including the playoff loss to the Titans. He also played sparingly in the two games he did suit up for, taking part in just nine snaps.
One other thing to consider might be the status of Joejuan Williams. The corner is set to enter his second season and saw some action down the stretch in McCourty's absence after being inactive seven times in the first 13 weeks, but was arrested earlier in the offseason.
With Gilmore, Jackson and Jones all returning, McCourty could be an expensive fourth corner, particularly with a young option like Williams in the mix. Perhaps the move to pick up the option is an insurance policy based on Williams' status.
The Patriots could let McCourty go and face just a $1.75 million cap hit, which would have been the case regardless, should he not fit into the 2020 plans. So, exercising the option really is a no-brainer at this point and certainly makes a lot of sense.