It looks like the Patriots are getting a jump on the Devin McCourty contract talks.
Although McCourty still has a year left on his rookie deal, New England clearly values his services enough to want to keep him around long term. Since transitioning from cornerback, McCourty has been one of the best safeties in the league and looks to be an anchor in the secondary for years to come. He was Pro Football Focus's top-ranked safety last season, and since his rookie year he has been one of the most durable players on the team, having missed only three starts in four years.
With Jairus Byrd inking a six year, $54 million contract with the Saints this offseason, the bar has been set for top-tier safeties, so look for McCourty to seek a deal somewhere in that range. In my opinion, he's worth it; it's just a matter of whether the Patriots can afford to give McCourty his payday while still retaining Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner for the long-term as well, should they work out and want to stay. If New England can find a way to retain McCourty, Revis, and Browner without breaking the bank, combined with Duron Harmon's emergence as a legitimate strong safety, the Patriots could FINALLY have the secondary they have been craving for, oh, say, about a decade now.
It's still early, obviously, and a lot can and will happen between now and when McCourty finally does get his new contract. But the fact that the Patriots are getting the wheels in motion early certainly bodes well for McCourty's future in New England.