Devin McCourty, the talented cornerback converted to safety for the New England Patriots, slipped through the franchise tag window today. The team opted to tag kicker Stephen Gostkowski instead. This opens up McCourty to hit the 2015 NFL Free Agency market. He’ll be a tempting player for a number of teams who need help at the safety position.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars, equipped with the most cap space in the NFL, will be tempted to McCourty.
McCourty would have commanded $9.6 million if he has been slapped with the tag, a stunning amount that the Patriots likely weren’t comfortable paying. This doesn’t mean the team is completely out of the way as they still have some time to sign McCourty before the free agency period begins.
That doesn’t stop those of us who root for the Jaguars from contemplating a dream scenario involving Devin McCourty in the defensive backfield. He’d bring some serious experience to the Jags, providing veteran leadership in a defensive secondary that is still struggling to learn the ropes. He’d also bring along a wining mentality (nurtured lovingly by Bill Belichick of course) after many playoff seasons and the most recent Super Bowl victory.
The big question with McCourty is whether he’ll make it out of New England. He’s a key piece for the Patriots, though they have been known to throw away key pieces in favor of new blood before. Also important to consider is how willing he is to leave a team fresh off a Super Bowl victory for a team that is in the midst of one of the biggest rebuilds in the NFL.
Right now I don’t think worrying about McCourty’s future as a possibly Jaguar is going to be near the top of GM Dave Caldwell’s priorities. Then again, the hole at free safety is gaping and seemed to be sucking in the entire defense in 2014.