Devin McCourty ready if Patriots use franchise tag

One of the biggest questions for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots heading into the offseason is the future of their secondary. While cornerback Darrelle Revis and his $25 million cap hit for 2015 have dominated the headlines in Boston this month, the more significant decision might be whether the Patriots try to retain safety Devin McCourty, who is set to hit free agency in March.

McCourty is the most likely candidate on the Patriots to get the franchise tag (Revis’ contract does not allow it), which is expected to be roughly $9.6 million for safeties next season. New England could tag McCourty in order to give the team more time to negotiate a long-term contract with his agent, or the 27-year-old could play out the 2015 season at the franchise tag number. Teams have until March 2 to use their franchise tag.

Speaking at an event at Lowell High on Wednesday, McCourty said that he’s not worried about getting tagged and would be fine with a one-year deal next season, via CSN New England:

“I’ve kind of broken it down as the worst-case scenario would be that I get franchised and come back to play for another year here,” McCourty said. “To me that’s no reason to stress. I love it here. The franchise tag is player-friendly now. It’s a good number. There’s no reason really for me to be stressed. If I hit free agency, I hope there’s some teams that want me to play there.

“I’ve thought about all different scenarios whether I’m here or whether I’m somewhere else,” he said. “At this point, I don’t have a contract. It could happen that I could be playing somewhere else. I think it would be crazy not to think that that could be reality. I’ve thought about all those scenarios.”
McCourty was the backbone of a dominant Patriots secondary that ranked third-best in Pro Football Focus’ pass coverage ratings last year. The 2010 first-round pick and Pro Bowler finished the regular season with 78 tackles, nine passes defended and two interceptions.

Trevor Siemian did the dumbest thing a QB could do and it worked

Trevor Siemian was under pressure from Justin Houston late in the third quarter, and he managed to escape to keep the play alive so he could connect with Jordan Taylor in the end zone.

Siemian ran to escape pressure from Houston, who had sacked Siemian three times up to that point.

He then cuts back toward the other side of the field, looking for a receiver in the end zone. It takes Siemian nearly 10 seconds — 9.53, to be exact — to throw.

Jordan Taylor, a 6’5 wide receiver, is there, and he hauls in the catch, getting both feet back and securing the ball. The score gave Denver a one-point lead over the Chiefs in this hard-fought AFC West Sunday Night Football battle.

The Jets took over trailing by five points, and Fitzpatrick almost immediately gave up the ball after being sacked by Chris Long.

New England recovered Fitzpatrick’s fumble on the Jets’ 34-yard line, and the Patriots were able to hold on for the win.

The Patriots’ victory was Brady’s 200th career win, which ties him with Peyton Manning for the most of all time.

“We had a lot of challenges,” Turner told Breer. “And for a period of time, we were able to hide some problems we had, but it catches up to you. And then we just had a difference of opinion—or what I felt was a difference of opinion—on what we needed to do to give our guys the best chance to fix it.”

Turner reiterated that point in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

On the surface, it looks like Turner handled this in a reasonable, sane way. You could make the case that it’s better for the Vikings that he leaves now to than to let the disagreement fester and turn ugly. On the other hand, why couldn’t he just adapt and stick it out through the end of the season?