Thoughts on possible McCourty extension

Catching up with New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty today at Boston Children’s Hospital sparked a few thoughts on a potential contract extension for him:

1. A feel for the contract: McCourty enters the final year of his deal and is scheduled to earn a base salary of $3.92 million. That figure is a significant increase for McCourty and comes as a result of him reaching well-deserved incentives in 2013. For context, McCourty earned base salaries of $320,000, $450,000, $540,000 and $650,000 in his first four seasons.

2. A bit early to be thinking extension: The Patriots surely want McCourty to be part of their future; it seems to be more a matter of “when” than “if.” But with free agency beginning March 11 and with players such as cornerback Aqib Talib and receiver Julian Edelman set to hit the market, those situations naturally are more on the front burner. There hasn’t been any movement in talks on a McCourty extension at this time.

3. Unique dynamic when looking at comparable players: Because McCourty plays cornerback and safety, his market is a bit unique. Do you look closer at his brother Jason, a cornerback for the Tennessee Titans, as a fair comparable contract? Entering the final year of his deal in 2012, Jason McCourty inked a five-year extension with $43 million in new money and $20 million in bonuses and guarantees. Or is it closer to a high-market safety deal. San Diego's Eric Weddle, at five years and around $40 million, represents the top of the market. The projected franchise tag for cornerbacks is around $11 million per season while the projected franchise tag for safeties is around $8 million. Whenever the sides do get down to talking, that figures to be a different dynamic in the talks.