Reiss notes that the Patriots “surely want McCourty to be part of their future“, and as a result, should look into extending his contract at some point.
Reiss also writes that McCourty’s positional versatility-he has played both cornerback and safety-could make potential extension talks unique. The projected price of the franchise tag for cornerbacks is roughly $11 million, while it is only around $8 million for safeties.
McCourty, 26, is entering the final year of his contract and is set to make a base salary of $3.92 million. He had a base salary of $650,000 last season.
One issue that will clearly impact McCourty’s status is what New England does with free agent CB Aqib Talib. Talib had an outstanding season, and his impact was clear when he left the AFC Championship game against Denver with an injury, allowing WR Demaryius Thomas to run wild. The Patriots are currently projected to have just over $7 million in cap space for the 2014 seaso, according to overthecap.com, which may make keeping Talib and addressing other players a challenge.
The uncertainty regarding Talib makes McCourty’s situation that much more interesting. New England does have some young talent in the secondary, including CB Alfonzo Dennard and CB Logan Ryan, but the safety position is noticeably weaker.
Pro Football Focus ranked McCourty as the best safety in the NFL last season.