When you win Super Bowls, the buzzards come a picking. The New England Patriots will face the same, and one free agent in particular will have a few suitors. Devin McCourty is on the short list of many NFL teams and the Cowboys could certainly be one of them.
McCourty has been very solid for New England after he was drafted 27th overall out of Rutgers in 2010. He's played cornerback, returner, and most recently free safety. His range of motion and versatility have made him a very well-rounded player in the NFL.
His college days were just what you would expect of a first-round pick. After red-shirting his first year, McCourty appeared in all 13 games in 2006 recording 38 tackles and two interceptions. His sophomore year was very impressive. Starting opposite corner of his brother, Devin compiled 63 tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and three blocked kicks on special teams. After being named to the All-Big East Conference Academic Team, McCourty finished his senior year with a personal high 80 tackles, 10 pass deflections and was named to the All-Big East Conference first team.
Devin McCourty's rookie year was also spectacular. He started all 16 games, had 82 tackles, seven interceptions, one sack, two forced fumbles and 17 passes defensed. He was named to the 2011 Pro Bowl as well as receiving All-Pro honors from Sporting News and 2nd team from the Associated Press.
After the Patriots acquired Aqib Talib via a trade, McCourty was officially converted to free safety in his third year. He would play 1,329 snaps that season, more defensive snaps than any player in the league. McCourty has always been regarded with high character marks and in the tragedy that was the Boston Bombings McCourty stepped up. He would pledge $100 for every tackle and $200 for every interception he recorded in 2013. He would finish the year with 68 tackles and one interception
2014 was another solid year for Devin McCourty. He only allowed a passer rating of 62.6 while recording three interceptions and allowing only two touchdowns. He also posted a +16.9 overall season grade according to PFF.
If the gushing isn't apparent, let me reiterate that McCourty would be a huge boost for the Dallas Cowboys. His blazing speed plus his football acumen make him a remarkable talent. If the Cowboys were to really make a push for his services, it would likely spell the end for Brandon Carr. McCourty isn't going to come cheap by any means. The Cowboys would have to be willing to offer him a deal that mirrors Carr's. Our good friend KD Drummond had this to say on the matter:
McCourty is basically the only worthwhile free agent free safety in 2015, and as such he will command a bidding war that we’d normally frown upon. His contract will at least match the one signed by Jairus Byrd last year to move to New Orleans. Dallas’ need at free safety is well-documented, and the ability to move J.J. Wilcox into a box role similar to how Seattle attacks with Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor should have Dallas fans salivating. Barry Church as Big Nickel safety instead of Jeff Heath? Now you’re cooking with propane, buddy. The Patriots are currently over the 2015 projected cap because there is a 20+ million dollar hold due to the Darrel Revis contract. Tom Brady’s team-friendly deal doesn’t allow for much extra space to be gained from a restructure, so it is questionable of whether or not they could make a competitive offer to McCourty. If they can’t, Dallas should be first in line.
Of course it would cost a decent amount to bring in the likes of McCourty, but if the juice is worth the squeeze, as they say. The Cowboys have an improving J.J. Wilcox and a solid Barry Church, but still lack the rangy free safety that could solidify the back end of their 4-3. Though it may be one of the least likely deals the Cowboys pursue, it certainly deserves a look. As Jerry said about free agency earlier this week; "You can't have it all, but you can try."