Pats keep some, lose some as NFL Free Agency begins
(AP) reporting by Kyle Hightower
The New England Patriots' twin combination in the secondary will remain intact for another season.The New England Patriots' twin combination in the secondary will remain intact for another season.
A person familiar with the move says cornerback Jason McCourty has agreed to a two-year deal to remain with the Super Bowl champions. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because teams are not permitted to announce any moves until later in the day.
A second person familiar with a separate deal says defensive back Eric Rowe will sign a one-year contract worth $4.5 million to join the Miami Dolphins. Rowe appeared in four games with the Patriots last season (two starts) before being placed on season-ending injured reserve with a groin injury.
For McCourty, who was signed to a one-year deal by the Patriots prior to last season, it means continuing playing alongside his twin brother and safety Devin McCourty. It also helps keep some continuity in New England's starting secondary, which features the McCourty brothers, safety Patrick Chung and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Jason McCourty appeared in all 16 games during the 2018 season, including 12 starts at left cornerback. He finished with one interception and 10 passes defensed.
The Patriots have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agent receiver Josh Gordon and defensive back Jonathan Jones.The Patriots have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agent receiver Josh Gordon and defensive back Jonathan Jones.
They placed second-round tenders on both, meaning any team that signed them would have to send back a second-round compensatory draft pick to New England.
In Gordon's case it keeps alive the possibility that he could rejoin New England if he's reinstated from his latest suspension for violating an agreement that allowed him to play after multiple drug suspensions.
Gordon returned to the reserve/commissioner suspended list indefinitely in December for breaking the terms of his reinstatement under the NFL substance abuse policy.
He has been suspended several times by the NFL for violations of its drug policies since being drafted by the Browns in 2012. He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Gordon's outlook improved with New England last season, where he landed in September in a trade after the Browns felt it was time to cut ties with him. He had 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns with the Patriots, five years removed from an All-Pro season in 2013 with 87 catches for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns.