Rumors of the Eagles' interest in free agent safety Devin McCourty first emerged in a report by CBS Sports on Thursday. Jason La Canfora noted that McCourty, along with free agent cornerback Byron Maxwell, is a "top target' for Philadelphia.
Since then, additional reports have emerged indicating Philadelphia's serious level of interest. Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 reports that McCourty is "high on the Eagles free agent board." But she also reports that the Birds will have some in-division competition:
"Sources in Philadelphia tell me Devin McCourtey is high on the Eagles free agent board and will pursue him. As will the New York Giants."
McCourty could have interest in Philly and
New York New Jersey since he's from Nyack, New York and played college football at Rutgers in New Brunswick. The G-Men have about $12.7 million available in cap room compared to Philadelphia's bigger budget of over $50 million.
Given the Eagles need for a new safety with Nate Allen likely to leave in free agency, McCourty would make a lot of sense. Like Malcolm Jenkins, he's a former cornerback. BGN's Mike Kaye profiled McCourty earlier this offseason and explained why he fits in Philadelphia.
"McCourty has been a full-time starter for five years and has a vast background in one-on-one coverage, which the Eagles ask of their safeties. McCourty and Jenkins would likely be the best pair of coverage safeties in the league, giving the team more flexibility at cornerback (although, they shouldn't explore that as a solution). Unlike Jenkins, McCourty has the ability to cause turnovers, as he has collected 17 interceptions and seven forced fumbles in five seasons. Add in the fact that Kelly has had the ability to watch McCourty in practice during the last two training camps, and you can see why the Eagles may be ready to pay a veteran like McCourty."
McCourty is expected to be the top free agent on the market. The Patriots declined the opportunity to place the franchise tag on him. He'll be due a big contract but the Eagles will have the money to pay him if that's what they want to do.
Needless to say, keep an eye on McCourty's name once free agency begins on Tuesday, March 10.