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NFL free agency 2023: Patriots modify Devin McCourty’s contract to create an extra $5 million in cap space

New England signed McCourty to a one-year extension before his retirement.

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Devin McCourty is still heading into retirement, but the New England Patriots found a way to limit his impact on their 2023 books.

As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, the veteran safety signed what is effectively a one-year contract extension with the club that will allow the Patriots to split his salary cap hit between the 2023 and 2024 seasons. The move creates $5.035 million in extra cap space this season, while pushing $6.2 million in dead money to next year.

That pushing back is dependent on when McCourty’s retirement will be processed. However, the expectation is that it will be a post-June 1 move in order to indeed allow his cap hit to be split in two.

Officially, McCourty is now under contract for 2023 at a minimum salary of $1.165 million and with a cap hit of $4.665 million — a significant decrease compared to his previous number of $9.7 million. Following his eventual retirement, the Patriots would then take on a dead money charge of $3.5 million this year with $6.2 million remaining on the books for 2024.

As a consequence of these cap gymnastics, New England now has $32.57 million to work with, per Miguel Benzan. That number is one of the highest in the league.

A first-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2010, McCourty spent his entire 13-year career with the Patriots. Along the way, he appeared in 229 regular season and playoff games, helped the organization win three Super Bowls, and was voted a team captain in 12 straight seasons.