One of the New England Patriots' biggest moves of free agency so far was trading a sixth-round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns to obtain Jason McCourty and a seventh-round selection. New England, which moved down a mere 14 slots in the draft to get the veteran, was not only able to add a starting-caliber player to its secondary, it also reunited the cornerback with his twin brother and Patriots starting safety Devin McCourty.
Jason McCourty last played alongside his brother during the 2008 season, when both were still at Rutgers. The following spring, Jason was drafted by the Tennessee Titans; one year later, Devin was made a first-round draft pick by the Patriots. Over the next eight NFL seasons, the brothers shared the same field only once: On opening day 2012, the Jason's Titans hosted Devin's Patriots. The two brothers never saw each other again on the gridiron.
In 2018, this is all about to change. “I’m excited just about the opportunity,” Jason McCourty recently told reporters at a conference call. “Just to be able to now share the field with Dev and just be able to do something that we grew up loving [...] I’m excited about just being able to go through offseason workouts with him along my side and be able to catch up and see how much we’ve grown since the last time.”
After his tenure in Tennessee came to an end last year, the chances of the McCourtys playing on the same field again looked better than ever before. However, with the Patriots being set at the cornerback position after acquiring Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore in free agency, McCourty signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns. The team went 0-16 and the veteran cornerback was on his way out of town after only one season.
“I got the call that I was going to be released,” McCourty recounts when talking about last Thursday. “I told [Devin] and told my wife and we were all doing us. Then I left to go workout and about an hour later I get a FaceTime from Dev and he’s just like – well as soon as I got released he showed me he texted Flo [Brian Flores] and was just like, ‘Man, how do we get Jason to New England?’ Dev said, ‘I’m going to text Bill [Belichick],’ so I think he hit up Bill about it, but I think at that point the trade was already in the process.”
Cleveland, as McCourty notes, was originally intent to release the veteran cornerback before the Patriots stepped in and offered a trade. The two teams exchanged late-round draft choices and the defensive back changed teams – something he was first told by his brother: “I get a FaceTime from Dev while I’m working out,” McCourty said. “And he was just like, ‘Yo, don’t worry about it. We’re going to trade for you. You’re coming to New England.’”
“I was just kind of looking at him because I thought he was joking around,” the younger McCourty – 27 minutes, to be exact – continued. “Probably about five minutes later I get a call from John Dorsey, the GM in Cleveland, and he’s like, ‘I got some news for you. We’re not going to release you, so we’re going to trade you to New England.’ It was, I guess, a roller coaster type of day.”
The day that began with Jason McCourty on his way to hitting the open market ended with him joining his brother in New England. “I’m just looking forward to that opportunity,” McCourty said about getting traded to a team that lost just 15 games over the past four seasons combined. “Getting acclimated to a new team, a new system, new coaches, new players. That’s really my only focus.”