Could Colts Court? Patriots Don’t Tag McCourty


The Indianapolis Colts have been handed some encouraging news regarding some potential high profile free agent targets today. Earlier, we noted that the Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh will take a step closer to free agency, as the Detroit Lions reportedly will not franchise tag him.

Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) reacts after defeating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Joining him could be another marquee free agent that could potentially pique the interest of the Colts in New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty. According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, the New England Patriots will elect to franchise tag kicker Stephen Gostkowski over Devin McCourty in a somewhat surprising decision (via ProFootballTalk):

"“According to Mike Reiss of, a greater likelihood exists that the Patriots will tag their kicker over their top safety.  Casual fans routinely scoff at the notion that a kicker is a “franchise player,” but kickers who get the franchise tag see a much lower one-year contract offer.  For Gostkowski, Reiss estimates that the cash and cap number will be in the range of $4.5 million.”"

Reiss adds that there is a distinct likelihood that McCourty could in fact hit free agency, and that the New England Patriots could simply remain in close contact with him in the hopes of matching any lucrative offer he could possibly receive:

"“The possibility McCourty heads to unrestricted free agency without restrictions of a franchise tag would create a scenario in which any team could sign him without giving up compensation to the Patriots,” Reiss writes. “If that’s the way it unfolds, based on past history, the Patriots would likely keep an open line of communication with McCourty and his representatives by letting them know they’re interested in retaining him. McCourty could then decide if the team’s offer matches up to what he receives on the open market.”"

Even McCourty seems aware that he could be playing in a different uniform in 2015 besides the Patriots:

"“On Feb. 25, McCourty said, “I’ve thought about all different scenarios, whether I’m here or whether I’m somewhere else. At this point, I don’t have a contract, so it could happen that I could be playing somewhere else. It would be crazy not to think that could [happen].”"

While Gostkowski is one of the best kickers in the game, it does seem like a bit of a risky proposition for the New England Patriots, and one that could ultimately prove to backfire. This year’s safety draft class is weak, and the free agent options beyond McCourty aren’t much better. If McCourty hits the open market, there’s a strong chance that any safety needy team, including the Colts, could potentially blow any Patriots offer away:

What once seemed like a mere formality of McCourty receiving the franchise tag from the Patriots, now seems to be in serious flux. For the Colts, it has to be good news given their desperate need for a starting caliber safety alongside Mike Adams going forward.

We’ve previously noted that a premier safety like McCourty would make a great deal of sense for the Colts, and it looks as though the possibility that he could potentially become a member of the Horseshoe just got a bit better today. The Colts are armed with around $40 million of cap space to potentially make McCourty one of the highest paid safeties in the league, while taking a key player away from their AFC rivals.

Update (3:40 EST): Looks like Devin McCourty in fact takes a step closer to hitting free agency in a surprising move by the New England Patriots. He still has until March 10th to reach a new contract with New England before becoming a free agent: