Jan 27, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty is interviewed during media day for Super Bowl XLIX at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
On February 16th, NFL teams can begin to place the franchise tag on certain players. March 2nd is the deadline to use the tag, and unlike the past few years, I expect the New England Patriots to use it in 2015.
Here are the top two candidates in my mind that could receive the franchise tag:
Darrelle Revis is the number one priority for the Pats, but McCourty is right there with him. It is great having a shutdown corner like Revis on the field, but McCourty has had just as big an impact on the defense, as his ability to keep everything in front of him is unrivaled in the NFL (save for Earl Thomas).
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What makes McCourty special is his incredible range, unbelievable closing speed, ridiculous football IQ, and on top of it all he is one of the best leaders this team has. He has bought into the ‘Patriot Way’ from the beginning, and the coaches can’t stop raving about him. If New England wants to repeat in 2015, they absolutely need McCourty on their side.
With that said, there has been nothing that has indicated the two sides will have a long-term contract worked out anytime soon, which leads many to believe he will receive the franchise tag. The safety tag this year is expected to be in the $8 million range, which quite honestly is a bargain for a player like McCourty. All in all, each side wants to come to an agreement, and eventually it should happen. But for now, I put McCourty as the top candidate to get tagged in 2015.
Next: Who Is Candidate Number Two For The Franchise Tag?