Patriots

Patriots land dependable veteran corner in Jason McCourty

Patriots land dependable veteran corner in Jason McCourty

The Patriots tried to trade for Jason McCourty multiple times when he was a member of the Titans. For one reason or another, it didn't work out. 

Finally, after McCourty spent a season in Cleveland, Bill Belichick was able to land McCourty twin No. 2.

MORE - D. McCourty on addition of brother Jason 'It's a perfect fit'

It makes sense that Devin McCourty's brother would be deemed a fit in New England. Jason McCourty is considered a smart player who has the ability to play both man and zone. He has good speed and he's a willing tackler. And he's dependable. Among all corners last season who played at least 700 snaps, only Aqib Talib (1 missed tackle in 753 snaps) and Chris Harris (1 in 869 snaps) missed fewer tackles than McCourty (2 in 899 snaps).

Devin joined Boston Sports Tonight on Thursday to give a quick scouting report on his brother.

"Well I'm better," he said, "so I don't want to get people's hopes up too much. Whatever you think of me, think a little less of him."

As Jason toiled away for teams in Tennessee and Cleveland without a playoff appearance, his twin had no problem giving him a hard time while the Patriots played deep into January year after year. Devin did, however, play it straight for a moment on Thursday when discussing the benefits of playing alongside his wombmate and Rutgers teammate. 

"I think we're both smart football players, understand scheme and whatever it is as a defense you're trying to get done," he said. "I would say I'm a little bit more physical than him, and some people might say he's faster than me. It will be exciting to see how we feed off each other. 

"It's been a long time since we've been on the field together and been able to communicate and kind of know what each other is thinking and doing."

The twins will turn 31 this summer, but Jason McCourty has one more year of NFL service time under his belt after entering the league as a sixth-round pick in 2009. In 2017, Jason had one of his best seasons, picking off three passes and breaking up eight others. He came in as the No. 17 corner in the league by season's end, according to Pro Football Focus. 

In New England, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder will likely figure in as an outside corner opposite Stephon Gilmore as he played fewer than 30 snaps in the slot each of the last three years. Will he start? Will he come in as a third corner (which in 2018 is often essentially a starting role) and play on the outside with Eric Rowe bumping inside? 

All of that remains to be seen, but it's safe to say McCourty's presence provides the Patriots with a measure of depth they were lacking earlier in the week. With Malcolm Butler signing in Tennessee, the Patriots boast a group of corners that includes McCourty, Gilmore, Rowe, Jonathan Jones, Cyrus Jones, Ryan Adams and Jomal Wiltz.

Because McCourty was traded, the Patriots pick up the final year of the two-year contract he signed with the Browns last offseason. He has a base salary of $2.375 million. New England sent a sixth-round pick (No. 205 overall) to Cleveland in exchange for McCourty and a seventh-round selection (No. 219).

Jason McCourty was initially set to be released, but the Patriots sought to secure the corner's services without losing him to a higher bidder, which could have happened had he hit the open market. 

The McCourty brothers have long been interested in playing together, and it might've happened had the Patriots and Titans ever agreed to terms when Jason was in Nashville. McCourty was released by the Titans last offseason, but his release came late in free-agency, and by the time he became available, the Patriots had added Gilmore and it had already become clear that Butler would be sticking for 2017. 

It wasn't meant to be then. One year later, the twins' mom Phyllis Harrell is finally getting her wish to see her sons team up in the NFL. 

"She was just screaming when I FaceTimed her," Devin said. "She was so excited. She wanted this longer than anybody else."

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Where does Patriots' Sony Michel rank among NFL RB1s entering 2019?

Where does Patriots' Sony Michel rank among NFL RB1s entering 2019?

Sony Michel enjoyed a tremendous rookie season for the New England Patriots and played a pivotal role in the team's run to a sixth Super Bowl championship.

The 24-year-old running back ran for 931 yards and six touchdowns in 13 regular season games, but his real value, however, was shown in the playoffs. Michel tallied 336 yards and a rookie postseason record six touchdowns in three games, culminating with 94 yards and the Patriots' only touchdown in their 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

After a stellar first season as a pro, where does Michel rank among the league's RB1s entering the 2019 season? Former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew ranked Michel at No. 11 in his rankings on NFL.com. Here's what MJD had to say about the Georgia product:

Michel showed he can be a bell cow during the postseason, with 71 carries for 336 yards and a rookie-record six rushing TDs in three games. He underwent a minor knee procedure in June, but Michel should still be the effective rusher he was in the postseason starting in September. Plus, I think Patriots OC Josh McDaniels will be more creative with the running game now that Rob Gronkowski is no longer on the team.

Jones-Drew put New York Giants rookie sensation Saquon Barkley atop his rankings, with Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints, Le'Veon Bell of the New York Jets, Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys and Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers rounding out the top five, in that order.

The Patriots offense was carried by its ground game in the last season's playoffs, and we could see more of the same this coming season after New England selected talented Alabama running back Damien Harris in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Pats now have Michel, Harris, Rex Burkhead and James White leading a really impressive group of running backs that should make the team's offense a well-balanced unit next season.

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NFL odds: Three quarterbacks favored over Tom Brady for 2019 MVP

NFL odds: Three quarterbacks favored over Tom Brady for 2019 MVP

Tom Brady opens as one of the favorites to win the 2019 NFL MVP award, but Vegas has three quarterbacks favored over the Patriots QB.

Chiefs quarterback and 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes unsurprisingly is listed as the favorite heading into the new season at +350. Also ahead of Brady are Eagles QB Carson Wentz (+550) and Colts signal-caller Andrew Luck (+600).

Brady is tied with Chargers QB Philip Rivers at +700 and followed by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who opens at +800.

(Odds via Caesars Palace)

Considering the uncertainty at the wide receiver position for the Patriots, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Brady isn't favored to be 2019's MVP. But at +700, there's certainly plenty of value there if you're looking to put some money down before the season.

Brady has won the NFL MVP award three times before in his illustrious career (2007, 2010, 2017).

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