Devin McCourty would have been the top safety on the free agent market, but he won't make it there after all. The New England Patriots and McCourty agreed to a new deal, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports McCourty will sign a five-year deal worth $47.5 million. Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe reports the deal includes $28.5 million guaranteed.
McCourty was originally drafted as a cornerback by the Patriots in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was excellent in the role, picking off seven passes in his rookie season, which remains a career high. This past season, he recorded 68 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
Though his interception numbers have not reached the same height as his rookie season, McCourty was an integral part of New England's defense this past season. He has switched to playing safety, and was considered a leader in the secondary. He did many of the things expected of a top-flight safety: keeping plays in front of him, preventing big plays and being in on plenty of tackles.
Though McCourty is arguably a better fit at safety, he has the man-to-man skills to succeed at cornerback. McCourty made the Pro Bowl in 2010, was an All-Pro in both 2010 and 2013, and helped the Patriots to a Super Bowl championship this past season. He has racked up 388 tackles, 17 interceptions, eight forced fumbles and a sack in five seasons in the league.
New England opted not to apply the franchise tag to keep McCourty. While that allowed other teams to pursue, the move worked out for the Patriots. What this means for Darrelle Revis' career in New England remains to be seen.