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Patriots To Retain Safety Devin McCourty, Break the Hearts of 31 Other Franchises

The Pariots are expected to retain their All Pro defensive back.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the largest moves of the off-season, the New England Patriots are expected to retain defensive back Devin McCourty.

McCourty is the crown jewel of free agency. While he doesn't come with the same degree of hooplah as Ndamukong Suh, he is the ultimate team player and was desired by every other franchise in football.

McCourty returns as a leader of the defense and is expected to be around for a long while. The coaches and players all love and respect the attitude that he brings to the locker room and the intelligence he displays on the field.

Bill Belichick gambled when he opted to franchise kicker Stephen Gostkowski over McCourty, but Belichick played the market perfectly and will likely be paying less than the franchise value for a safety over multiple years.

McCourty has received a monster pay day from New England who have, once again, shown a willingness to pay their players who ascend to the top of the league.

The deal is worth $9.5 million per season, which is the second highest for any safety in the NFL. McCourty is getting paid, so hopefully we'll never have to hear that the Patriots don't pay their players ever again.

ESPN's Mike Reiss is reporting a $28.5 million guaranteed component to the contract, but the structure of the report is important. "Guaranteed" numbers can be referring to a signing bonus, or to guaranteed annual salary based upon further stipulations, ex: McCourty has to be on the roster on the 5th day of the 2016 league year and his 2016 base salary will be guaranteed.

This allows the agent to promote the guaranteed number, while also providing the team with protection should the player's performance decline. Let's wait to see if the guaranteed amount is real. The $28.5 million figure would be the most guaranteed for an safety in the NFL.

McCourty is on Comcast Sportsnet with the following comments:

We'll provide more details as they're available.