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Jason McCourty agrees to a restructured deal to remain with the Patriots

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NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Amid the flurry of Tuesday morning’s roster activity was the news that, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the Patriots and Jason McCourty reached an agreement to restructure the defensive back’s 2018 contract prior to Sunday’s victory in Foxborough.

Here’s how Jason McCourty’s deal now breaks down on the team’s salary cap sheet:

2018 salary: $1,600,000

2018 roster bonus: $375,000 (already paid)

Per-game bonuses: $350,000 ($400,000 “LTBE” for 14 games)

“LTBE” Incentives: $1,000,000

Offseason workout bonus: $7,095

Total 2018 cap figure: $3,332,095


Because McCourty played in 84.18% of the Browns’ defensive snaps a year ago, the $1,000,000 playing time incentives will be considered likely to be earned (LTBE), increasing his 2018 cap figure by $356,250. In turn, the restructure will cost the Patriots that amount in 2018 cap space — a figure that could increase by $50,000 if he is active for all 16 regular season games this year.

Why would the team agree to a restructure that would cost them cap space — particularly with a player who was perceived to be on the roster bubble coming out of camp? It’s simple, really.

The team clearly sees the value in having McCourty provide depth at multiple positions in the secondary, while also contributing on special teams. However, his contract just wasn’t commensurate with that type of role. In reality, the agreement is a player pay cut of which the salary cap benefits for the organization are deferred. Barring an epidemic of injuries to the team’s secondary, McCourty will not come close to earning much, if not all, of the playing time incentives — as evidence by his 6 defensive snaps played against the Texans. Any unearned incentive cash, as well as any unpaid per-game bonus money, will be credited to the team’s 2019 adjusted cap figure.

McCourty — an NFL veteran playing in his 10th season — is clearly happy with an opportunity for a spot on a roster where he can chase a Super Bowl victory alongside his twin brother. Were he not to agree to the pay cut, he likely would have been released, leaving him with the improbability of receiving comparable compensation on the open market for his services.

Coupled with the signings of wide receivers Corey Coleman and Bennie Fowler on Tuesday, the Patriots’ 2018 cap space figure currently sits around $4.8 million.

Follow Brian Phillips on Twitter @BPhillips_SB