McCourty played 80 percent of defensive snaps in each of his first four seasons, which triggered an escalator in his contract. Along with the increase in salary, McCourty’s 2014 cap figure of $2.115 million will instead be $5.115 million.
As we’ve mentioned numerous times in recent weeks, the Patriots don’t have a lot of cap space to work with as of now, so it seems very likely that roster moves will need to be made. Signing McCourty to a long-term extension — one that he’s already earned — is one such way to reduce his projected cap figure while keeping him under team control for the foreseeable future.
McCourty, 26, has just one year remaining on his rookie contract and has clearly been the Patriots best defensive back. In fact, Pro Football Focus has McCourty rated as the No. 1 overall safety in league this season by a decent margin, which makes this idea of a long-term extension actually seem very plausible.