The New England Patriots’ defensive leader is staying put.
Veteran safety and longtime co-captain Devin McCourty announced Sunday — with the help of his young children Londyn and Brayden — that he is returning for a 13th season with the Patriots.
McCourty’s new contract is a one-year, $9 million deal, per a report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported the deal is structured in a way that will lower McCourty’s salary cap hit for the upcoming season.
McCourty, who turns 35 in August, has spent his entire career with the Patriots, who drafted him in the first round in 2010. He’s started every game he’s appeared in since joining New England and has not missed a game since 2015.
With Adrian Phillips also re-signing earlier this year and Kyle Dugger still two years away from the end of his rookie contract, the Patriots will keep their talented safety trio intact for 2022. Continuity at that spot should help a secondary that appears primed for significant turnover at cornerback.
McCourty announced his new deal on the eve of the NFL’s legal tampering period, during which teams can begin negotiating with external free agency. That begins at noon ET on Monday, with the official start of free agency following at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
A number of other big-name Patriots players are set to become unrestricted free agents this week, including Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson, starting offensive linemen Trent Brown and Ted Karras, kicker Nick Folk and longtime New England captains Dont’a Hightower, James White and Matthew Slater.
The Patriots also got a head start on their handful of restricted free agents Sunday, placing a second-round tender on wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. The team will not tender fullback Jakob Johnson, per agent Drew Rosenhaus.