One of the New England Patriots‘ biggest questions heading into the offseason is whether or not Devin McCourty will return for another season.
The Patriots’ longest-tenured defensive player will turn 35 years of age in August. McCourty is not only a defensive captain, he has been a member of the Patriots since he was drafted in the first round back in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Just days after New England’s season ended at the hands of the Buffalo Bills in a throttling 47-17 loss in the playoffs, the veteran safety addressed his future during the Double Coverage podcast that he hosts with his brother Jason McCourty.
McCourty refused to give a concrete answer, instead saying he’s in no rush to make a decision.
“Just hanging out,” said McCourty. “Hanging out with the family, getting an opportunity to not think about football for at least a month or two. You know, I think even at this age, I’m going to continue to do the offseason stuff that I usually do just to give myself that option of what you want to do next. But I still feel great.”
McCourty Shows No Signs of Slowing Down
Despite playing in his 12th season, McCourty showed little sign of slowing down. Not only did he appear in all 18 — including postseason — of the team’s games, he posted a 75.5 defensive grade, according to Pro Football Focus. That number ranked 16th among all safeties in the league.
In fact, it was actually an improvement over his 2020 campaign in which he posted a 65.2 defensive grade, ranking 45th among all safeties.
“Going over all the tests and things we do during the season with our sports performance guy, not having a drop-off in athletic ability and the physical traits to play the game, it all really comes down to mentally and being able to tap back in and going through a full season,” he said. “Those are the things you have to think about.”
“But I’m going to definitely take my time and see what happens for the future,” McCourty continued. “I try not to say ‘I’ll never do this’ or ‘I’m only going to do that’ and just let it play out.”
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McCourty Leads a Stacked Patriots Backfield
The Patriots’ defensive backfield was the backbone of the unit’s success in 2021. Not only did New England rank second in points allowed, the pass defense ranked second in passing yards and interceptions and fourth in passing touchdowns allowed.
And it wasn’t just McCourty that was a staple of the backfield’s success — it was the other defensive backs too. Fellow safety Adrian Phillips (80.0 defensive grade, eighth in the NFL) and cornerback J.C. Jackson (78.9 defensive grade, eighth in the NFL) were also among the best in the league.
Assuming McCourty does return for another season, he will technically be a free agent. Considering he’s most valuable in the Patriots’ system, it’s unlikely to envision a scenario where the veteran safety plays and isn’t in a New England uniform.