The Tennessee Titans released CB Jason McCourty and Bernd argued this morning that he would make sense as a fit for the New England Patriots. McCourty wouldn’t count against the Patriots compensatory draft calculation because he was released and he could provide valuable depth.
There’s also the chance that identical twin mind-reading is a real thing, and that would make McCourty’s connection with Patriots FS Devin McCourty the most incredible addition of the offseason.
And ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes that Jason joining New England is a serious possibility:
He has had long-standing interest in playing with his brother. Would be ideal replacement for Logan Ryan. https://t.co/3fVhMlqfFU— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 14, 2017
Jason McCourty has often talked about potentially joining forces with Devin, most notably penning an article for MMQB prior to Super Bowl XLIX discussing his desire to play for a contender and opening up about a low-key jealousy of the Patriots success. The Patriots inquired about trading for Jason during the 2015 season.
The Titans released Jason because he creates zero dead cap space and frees up $7 million because his pro rated signing bonus ended in 2016. His play has fallen off over the past three seasons, although that might be linked to injuries (groin in 2015, chest and shoulder in 2016) and the Ray Horton/Dick LeBeau zone blitz defense that was put into place in 2014.
From 2010 to 2013, Jason was one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL when asked to simply cover his man or zone and be a sound tackler- and despite his drop in production, he remains one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the league.
Jason McCourty's career grades. Played just 218 snaps in 2015. pic.twitter.com/FkaecQxQQu— Vinnie Ronca (@PFF_Vinnie) April 13, 2017
Side note: Jason McCourty’s 74.1 Pro Football Focus grade in 2016 is better than Patriots mega-contract CB Stephon Gilmore’s score of 73.2.
Jason was asked to be the top cornerback for the Titans during his tenure and he struggled to keep up with the top opposing receiver in recent years. He wouldn’t be asked to have the same role in New England as he would join a depth chart with Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones, Jonathan Jones, and Justin Coleman. Jason would likely compete with Rowe and Cyrus for playing time in 2017 and there would be an obvious path to the field if Butler is traded this offseason.
As Bernd notes, money should be a deciding factor on whether Jason joins his brother in New England. Jason was slated to earn $7 million in 2017 and ESPN’s Mike Reiss notes that the Titans worked on lowering that figure, but the two sides couldn’t agree on terms.
What is Jason worth at this point in his career, as he is set to turn 30 years old in October?
30-year-old Brandon Carr signed a 4-year, $23.5 million deal with the Ravens this offseason, while 29-year-old Captain Munnerlyn signed a 4-year, $17 million contract with the Panthers. A contract for roughly $5 million per season would make sense for Jason on the open market, and the Patriots could probably put forth a $3 million per year offer and tell Jason to take it and have the opportunity to play with Devin and win a Super Bowl, or leave it and get a couple million more on the open market.
Jason’s desire to play with his brother is a very real bargaining chip- and doesn’t count out a reunion in 2017.