New England Patriots

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 19: Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball after intercepting a pass by quarterback Zach Wilson #2 of the New York Jets in the third quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Less than 24 hours before NFL free agency officially begins with the legal tampering period, the Patriots prevented one of their top internal free agents from hitting the open market. On Sunday evening, safety Devin McCourty shared (via his kids) on Twitter that he’ll be returning to Foxborough for the 2022 season.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, McCourty’s deal is for one year and worth $9 million. McCourty was previously on a contract that included void years in 2022 and 2023 – this new agreement will cancel that out and ultimately end up lowering his cap number for the upcoming season. How much money the Patriots end up saving exactly will be clearer when the details of the new contract are made public.

No defensive player played more snaps for the Patriots last year than McCourty, who was on the field for 94.4 percent of the team’s defensive plays. No other player played more than 90 percent. He finished second on the team with 10 pass deflections.

The Patriots drafted McCourty as a cornerback in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He moved to safety in 2013 and has since made two All-Pro teams. In his 12 NFL seasons – all with the Patriots – he’s amassed 31 interceptions (3rd in team history), 102 pass breakups, and 900 tackles while missing just five games.

McCourty wasn’t the only pending Patriots free agent to get a new deal on Sunday. The team also tendered a contract to restricted free agent Jakobi Meyers. As for the 20 remaining pending free agents, they can start agreeing to deals once the legal tampering window opens at noon on Monday.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.