Defensive back Jason McCourty expressed last month his desire to remain with the Patriots.
But the free agent seemingly hasn’t been able to travel down that path with the Pats, so he’s checking out other teams. According to NFL Network, the New York Giants were hosting McCourty on Friday and were “exploring a possible move in the future.”
The 33-year-old McCourty is coming off a rough season — his opposing passer rating when targeted was 131.4 and opposing quarterbacks had a 64.4 percent completion percentage against him — but it could still be difficult to replace him.
J.C. Jackson’s decision Friday to sign his second-round tender guarantees that if the Pats retain Stephon Gilmore, they’ll have two of the better corners in the league on their roster to start the season.
And free agent signee Jalen Mills figures to get playing time at both corner and safety.
But the Pats could still use help on the outside.
Barring the Pats’ drafting of a corner who’s ready to contribute in 2021, the Pats have Joejuan Williams and Mike Jackson to possibly pick up the slack -- although they’re both inexperienced.
Williams, 23, has played in 24 games since the Pats drafted him in the second round (45th overall) in 2019. He played in 8 percent of their defensive snaps as a rookie and 17 percent last season. He was targeted 11 times and allowed six pass completions in 2020.
Jackson, 24, was a fifth-round pick (158th overall) of the Dallas Cowboys in 2019, but he’s played in just two regular season games — one last year with the Pats, the other in 2019 for the Detroit Lions.