New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 08: Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots reacts during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs in the game at Gillette Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Devin McCourty’s extension with the Patriots is much more complex than the total numbers suggest.

Thanks to fresh information from Jeff Howe of The Athletic and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, we now know the full breakdown of McCourty’s deal. On paper it’s actually for five years and $53 million, but the deal voids after the 2021 season. The final three years of the contract are in place to spread out McCourty’s cap hit.

The deal was initially reported as two years and $23 million, and that remains the case. Here’s how the next two seasons and the $23 million break down for McCourty.


— $2.25 million salary (guaranteed)
— $10.75 million signing bonus
— $1 million in per-game roster bonuses


— $8 million salary ($4 million guaranteed if on roster on third day of season)
— $1 million in per-game roster bonuses

According to multiple reports, $17 million of the deal is guaranteed. Assuming he plays every game in 2020, he’ll see $13 million of that next season. Guaranteeing $4 million if he’s on the roster on the third day of the 2021 season appears to afford McCourty financial protection against the Patriots trading him. The Pats will need to pay that extra $4 million either way.

The final three years are simply $10 million each. But like Tom Brady’s final contract with the Patriots, McCourty’s will be set to void on the start of the 2021 league year. It’s a pure cap management move by Bill Belichick, who famously stated that cap space can be maneuvered in a number of ways.

Sep 30, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty (32) reacts after making a tackle against the Miami Dolphins in the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to the three dummy years tacked on to the contract, McCourty’s signing bonus can be spread out over five years at $2.15 million per season. So here’s how his cap hits for the next two years will break down:

2020: $2.25 million salary + $1 million bonuses + $2.15 million signing bonus = $5.4 million

2021: $8 million salary + $1 million bonuses + $2.15 million signing bonus = $11.15 million

After the deal voids in 2021, the remaining signing bonus hits would all move up to the 2021 cap as a $6.45 million dead cap charge. After doing the arithmetic I checked in with Miguel Benzan, who is basically the Bible for Patriots cap numbers. He has the same cap figure for 2020. Math!

Despite the cap management, McCourty is on track to be one of the Patriots’ highest-paid players and perhaps the de facto team leader now that Brady is expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His leadership is one of the main reasons he’s staying, but he’s also as reliable as it gets as a deep safety. His pay grade reflects that.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at