The New England Patriots have made their second trade of the offseason, once again reaching an agreement with the Cleveland Browns: The team traded a sixth round draft for cornerback Jason McCourty and a seventh round selection. Let’s take a look at what trading for the 30-year old means for the club:
The Patriots boost their cornerback depth...
After New England lost Malcolm Butler to the Tennessee Titans, the team was in the market for another player at the cornerback position. They found one in Jason McCourty, who will add talent, experience and known playmaking ability to the group and will likely serve as one of the top three options alongside Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe. A talented man-press cornerback, McCourty should fit in well with his new team and play a considerable number of snaps in 2018.
...and put pressure on their depth players
With Gilmore, Rowe and McCourty penciled in as the top three cornerbacks right now, New England's depth options are put under considerable pressure: They will need to fight for playing time and roster spots over the course of spring and summer. Unless injuries strike the projected starting trio, one or two of Cyrus Jones, Jonathan Jones, Ryan Lewis and Jomal Wiltz – and Johnson Bademosi in case he gets re-signed – will not be able to make the 53-man roster come September.
The McCourty twins are reunited
For the first time since playing at Rutgers together, the McCourty twins will wear the same uniform again: Jason will join his brother Devin McCourty, who is 27 minutes his brother's senior, in the Patriots secondary. Jason left the Scarlet Knights after the 2008 season and was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in sixth round in 2009; Devin was selected by New England in the first round the next season.
New England moves down just a few draft spots
Cleveland originally intended to release McCourty when the Patriots called to ask for a trade. The two sides agreed and the cornerback was sent to New England alongside a seventh round draft selection. The Patriots, as noted above, sent a sixth round pick back to Ohio but effectively move down only 14 slots from number 205 to number 219. The team's current draft picks therefore now look as follows:
Round 1: #31
Round 2: #43
Round 2: #63
Round 3: #95
Round 4: #136
Round 5: #159
Round 7: #219
The Patriots lose $2.31 million in salary cap space
McCourty was not only a cheap acquisition in terms of draft capital but also when it comes to the financial aspect of the move: Adding the starting-caliber defensive back will take up only $2.31 million in salary cap space for New England. McCourty, who replaces another player on the Patriots' top-51 contracts list, will play the 2018 season on a $2.375 million salary and can earn up to $625,000 in additional roster bonuses.