NE opens free agency re-signing vets McCourty, Hoyer, Slater

March 14, 2022 GMT
FILE - New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty is shown after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots have opened the unofficial start of free agency by bringing back veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and safety Devin McCourty. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
FILE - New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty is shown after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots have opened the unofficial start of free agency by bringing back veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and safety Devin McCourty. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
FILE - New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty is shown after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots have opened the unofficial start of free agency by bringing back veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and safety Devin McCourty. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
1 of 2
FILE - New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty is shown after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots have opened the unofficial start of free agency by bringing back veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and safety Devin McCourty. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
1 of 2
FILE - New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty is shown after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots have opened the unofficial start of free agency by bringing back veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and safety Devin McCourty. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Patriots opened the unofficial start of free agency Monday by bringing back a trio of veterans in backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, safety Devin McCourty and special teams captain Matt Slater.

Hoyer’s agency said via Twitter Monday that he has agreed to a two-year deal to continue his third stint in New England. McCourty also confirmed via social media that he’ll be back for his 13th season with the Patriots on a one-year deal.

A person with knowledge of the agreement tells The Associated Press that Hoyer’s deal includes $3 million guaranteed and could be worth as much as $4 million. McCourty’s new pact is for $9 million, according to another person with knowledge of that pending deal. A third source confirmed that Slater will be back for his 15th NFL season after agreeing to a one-year, $2.6 million deal. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deals can’t be officially signed until the start of the new league year.

ADVERTISEMENT

In addition, the Patriots announced they have re-signed offensive lineman James Ferentz. Terms were not disclosed.

Hoyer appeared in five games last season serving as rookie quarterback Mac Jones understudy and is expected to fill that role again. Hoyer’s presence on the roster allows Jones to keep a familiar face in the quarterback room as the offense turns the page following the departure of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels after he was hired to coach the Las Vegas Raiders.

McCourty has been a staple of the Patriots’ defense since he was drafted in 2010. He remained productive last season at age 34, making three interceptions and 60 tackles while not missing a start for the sixth consecutive season. He also provided invaluable leadership last season as the secondary adjusted following the early season trade of cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

McCourty will enter the 2022 season fourth in Patriots history with 37 total takeaways. He needs three more to join Raymond Clayborn (44), Fred Marion (42) and Ty Law (40) as the only players in team history with 40 total takeaways.

Slater will be 37 by the start of the season, but he hasn’t missed a start in four years. He is coming off his 10th Pro Bowl selection.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL