Early Tuesday, it was reported that the Cleveland Browns were interested in signing veteran free agent cornerback Jason McCourty. This evening, Courney Fallon of the NFL Network reports that McCoutry is “putting pen to paper” on a 2-year deal worth $6 million with the Browns.
Jason McCourty tells me he's putting pen to paper on a 2-year, 6M deal with the #Browns. 2M guaranteed. Big time addition to that roster.— Courtney Fallon (@CourtneyFallon_) May 16, 2017
Per Fallon, the deal includes $2 million guaranteed. Assuming there aren’t easily-attainable escalators in the contract, it seems like a relative steal for Cleveland. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said, “Really nice deal, especially for this late in free agency.”
McCourty was a 6th round pick in 2009 for the Tennessee Titans, where he has spent all 8 years of his NFL career to date. That was the same year in which the Titans made WR Kenny Britt a first-round pick, so I’m sure those two have been through their share of offseason battles.
Current Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was also a senior assistant defensive coach in 2013 with the Titans, so he should have some familiarity with McCourty. That was the first gig that Williams took on after being re-instated from his Bountygate suspension.
CB Jason McCourty could’ve waited for camp injury. But familiarity with DC Gregg Williams & a very positive visit sealed it. 2-year deal— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 16, 2017
In terms of performance, McCourty has never been a Pro Bowler or an All-Pro. However, he was seen as an up-and-comer in 2012, when he signed a 6-year, $43 million extension. The Titans released him this offseason in large part due to the number of games (14) that McCourty has missed over the past two years to groin injuries. Some seasonal grades from Pro Football Focus are below:
The signing mitigates the injury to 4th round CB Howard Wilson, and it’s not a far cry to think that McCourty could possibly start for the Browns in 2017. Although the Browns gave CB Jamar Taylor a contract extension last year, Cleveland would love to use CB Joe Haden and McCourty on the outside, with Taylor in the slot. Teams are in the nickel more than half the game these days anyway, so teams basically have three starting cornerbacks.
What do you think of the Browns signing McCourty?
UPDATE: One rumor says the Browns may have signed him to play free safety: