2-4-1 Pats News: D-Mac Retires and Jonnu Shipped off to ATL in a Cap Move (also Jon Jones is back yay)
Image Source; I was at this game with my dad. D-Mac returned a kickoff for a TD (the only of his career) and fumbled on another return..talk about a game of highs and lows..Pats ended up winning on a walk-off sack in OT. Tebow had 4 carries for the Jets!
I swear Devin McCourty's retirement news broke as soon as I got on the highway Friday, so I couldn't pay my respects on the blog or twitter since I was still in twitter jail. This news isn't super shocking, there were moments when Devin showed his age this year (I feel like he dropped 2-3 easy INTs), but this man gave the New England Patriots well over a decade of his life, and I'll always be grateful for that.
Devin McCourty was the Pats' first pick in 2010 (arguably their best draft of the double-dynasty) and one of approximately 940 Rutgers Scarlet Knights to suit up in New England under Bill Belichick. I remember watching that draft from a bar on a cruise I went on for Spring Break my senior year of HS. It was a wild first round between Tebow getting drafted, and for a split second, I thought I was too! I won't say my government name on DOL, but you likely know my last name. When the Chargers were picking, I said Ryan My-last name as, Ryan Mathews, was selected. For a split second, I was like, holy shit this was obviously a joke since I wasn't draft eligible (but was a key returner for a 1-7 team; at this point, the newspaper that also called me a "key loss" was months from publishing) but am I really about to be a first-round pick? Unfortunately, I was not, but that's a good thing in many ways because I would've ended up as a draft bust, given my playing ability. Key returners/losses for 3-8 (1-7) Rhode Island high school teams are rarely worth a first-round pick. But I'm getting way off track..
With Matthew Slater's old ass coming back, I thought we'd see Devin back for another year. Not only are the Pats losing one of the best safeties of the 2010s (IMO, he should've made the NFL's all-decade team), but a captain and leader in the locker room (and community!).
Once Brady left, the double-dynasty ended, but there were still a few holdovers from those days. Over the years, more and more have moved on. With Devin's retirement, there are only seven players left from the 2018 Super Bowl team, and two of them are offensive linemen (Trent Brown and Marcus Cannon) who left the team and came back.
After a stellar rookie year as a corner, D-Mac struggled his sophomore year, but a move to safety the following season saved his career. Devin, Pat Chung, and the closer, Duron Harmon, locked down the Pats' last line of defense in the 2010s during the best 5-year stretch in team history.
You know what they say about assuming, but I think it's safe to assume winning a Super Bowl with his twin brother was D-Mac's favorite moment in New England.
In 13 years with the Patriots, Devin McCourty intercepted 35 passes, won 3 Super Bowls (played in 5), made two Pro Bowls, and was a three-time 2nd team All-Pro. D-Mac was also runner-up for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010 behind potential HOFer, Ndamukong Suh AND he scored the fasted touchdown of 2018. The Pats are losing more than just their starting Free Safety; they're losing a franchise icon. If you were to rank 2010s Patriots (blog idea??), Devin is easily top 5, probably even higher.
The Pats are also "losing" TE Jonnu Smith after two lack-luster seasons in a salary dump trade with the Falcons.
I had high hopes for Jonnu, but this deal was a complete failure.
I was at the Razor for Jonnu's lone Patriot TD. It came on SNF against the Bucs in Tom Brady's return to Foxboro.
Hunter Henry scored the other Pats TD that night. I really thought that might be the beginning of Gronk-Hernandez 2.0. Instead, it was its peak. This move clears up over 4 million in cap space but also has a massive dead money hit of like 12 million bucks. Hashtag not ideal.
I think Jonnu will bounce back in ATL. Of course, there's been plenty of "wow, the Falcons really refuse to get Kyle Pitts the ball jokes" on twitter rn, but as an unbiased football guy, this is an excellent move for Jonnu Smith. I don't know who tf the Falcons QB will be, but this reunites Smith with another Smith---Arthur, his TE coach and then OC in Tennessee, where he played well enough to convince the Patriots to pay him like he's Kellen Winslow SR.
I guess it's a 3-4-1 blog. 2-year deal for Jonathan Jones. I'm about it. 31 has been solid AF when healthy. I glanced at an article while writing this blog that said the Pats may see what he can do at FS. Who knows about that, he's a great slot corner, but he's pumped he's staying in Foxboro. JJ is one of the seven guys left from the 2018 team.
Other 2018 Patriots still on the roster as of today:
LT: Trent Brown (spent 2019-2020 with the Raiders)
C: David Andrews
OT: Marcus Cannon (likely gone; spent 2021 with the Texans)
ST: Matthew Slater
DE: Lawrence Guy
DE: Detrich Wise, JR
OT: Isaiah Wynn was on the IR in 2018 so while he has a ring, he doesn't really count and was a fucking terrible pick---wouldn't be shocked to see him gone by the regular season. I'm pretty sure he's a FA.