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Proposing a Devin McCourty contract

On Monday, we began a series on the projected financial market for New England Patriots free agents.

Kicker Stephen Gostkowski was the first player to be featured; on Tuesday cornerback Darrelle Revis was the featured player; on Wednesday it was running back Shane Vereen in the spotlight; and Thursday it was Devin McCourty under the microscope.

Here is a contract proposal for McCourty that could possibly work for both sides:

Terms: Five years, $45 million

Signing bonus: $10 million

2015

Base salary: $5 million (guaranteed)

Cap figure: $7 million

2016

Base salary: $6 million (guaranteed)

Cap figure: $8 million

2017

Base salary: $7 million ($1 million guaranteed)

Cap figure: $9 million

2018

Base salary: $8 million

Cap figure: $10 million

2019

Base salary: $9 million

Cap figure: $11 million

We're not getting too detailed with bonuses and incentives in this exercise, so the purpose is to keep the proposals straight-forward to highlight what is viewed as market value and a general concept of what might work for both sides. This deal, averaging $9 million per season, would tie McCourty for the No. 2 spot in terms of average-per-year at the safety position. By paying him $15 million in the first year (between signing bonus and base salary), it is about $5.5 million more than the projected $9.5 million franchise tag he'd receive on a one-year deal. So the concept there is to create an incentive for the player to want to sign a long-term deal when compared to playing on the tag.

From the team side, the cap charges are below the projected 2015 franchise tag for the first three years of the pact, which provides flexibility for the club. If the team would like to lower those charges, another option is to increase the signing bonus (which is prorated over five years) and lower the base salaries in the earlier years of the pact.