The New England Patriots are keeping the band together at cornerback this offseason.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday the Patriots plan to exercise the team option in veteran Jason McCourty’s contract.
Declining to do so would have freed up $3.75 million in salary cap space, while leaving behind $1.75 million in dead money. McCourty is set to carry a cap hit of $5.5 million in 2020, according to Over The Cap.
McCourty played well this season as New England’s No. 2/3 corner (63.3 passer rating against, zero touchdowns allowed, per Pro Football Focus) before a groin injury essentially shut him down in late November. He continued to practice but played just nine total snaps over the Patriots’ final seven games, then underwent surgery shortly after the team’s early playoff exit.
Retaining McCourty also improves the Patriots’ chances of re-signing his twin brother, Devin, though the safety will have options in free agency after a Pro Bowl-caliber 2019 season. The brothers will be 33 when the 2020 campaign begins.
Jason McCourty was the Patriots’ only cornerback question mark entering this offseason. Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Justin Bethel, D’Angelo Ross and the recently signed Lenzy Pipkins all are under contract through 2020 or beyond.