The Patriots may have found their replacement for Malcolm Butler, and he comes with a familiar name.
The Patriots traded for Browns cornerback Jason McCourty on Thursday, reuniting him with twin brother Devin McCourty, a Patriots safety since 2010. McCourty was about to be released by the Browns, but instead the Patriots sent a 2018 sixth-round pick to Cleveland for McCourty and a 2018 seventh-round pick.
Jason McCourty, who turns 31 in August, is entering his 10th NFL season. A 5-11, 195-pound cornerback, McCourty has 16 career interceptions, including three last year for Cleveland. McCourty spent his first eight seasons with the Titans, drafted as a sixth-round pick in 2009, and played one year with the Browns.
The McCourty twins will play together for the first time since 2008 at Rutgers, when both starred in the secondary. Jason McCourty entered the 2009 draft, while Devin McCourty stayed in school for one more year and became a first-round pick for the Patriots in 2010.
The Patriots are getting a durable player — Jason McCourty has played in at least 14 games in six of his last seven seasons — and a hungry one. While Devin McCourty has played in four Super Bowls, winning two, Jason McCourty has never played in a playoff game.
“Yeah, I hate saying this every year, but my brother has been in the league for nine years and never played in a playoff game,” Devin McCourty said this past January. “We’re very close, we talk all the time, and he just wants to play in a playoff game.”
The Patriots assume Jason McCourty’s contract, which has one year and $3 million remaining. McCourty has a base salary of $2.375 million, a roster bonus of $375,000 due Friday, and $250,000 in per-game roster bonuses ($15,625 per game active). His salary cap number will actually be $2,968,750.
The McCourtys have spent the last decade dreaming about playing on the same team again, and have been each other’s biggest fans.
“The [Super Bowl] in Arizona, being on the field, with the confetti and all of that, just to be able to share those moments with one another, it’s been great for me,” Jason McCourty told the Globe at this year’s Super Bowl. “Once my season ends, I just become a true brother.”
The brothers have also been each other’s biggest foes.
“Brothers, inherently, are competitive, and twins take it to the next level,” Jason McCourty wrote for Sports Illustrated before the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl. “As close as Devin and I are — we truly are best friends — we are always trying to one-up each other. We inspire each other to improve, on and off the field.”
“Our senior year of high school, I got more scholarship offers than Devin. I had the edge. Then at Rutgers, I left early and got drafted in the sixth round. Again, I was ahead. Devin stayed, had an amazing senior year, and got drafted in the first round. Edge, Devin. He was the first one to make a Pro Bowl. I was the first one to get a second contract. You get the idea.”
The McCourtys are the second set of twins on the Patriots, joining Cody and Jacob Hollister, who were rookies last year.