NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots

Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty swoops in for a tackle during New England’s AFC divisional playoff win over the Los Angeles Chargers. A 10-year veteran, McCourty had never been to the NFL playoffs before this season.

The twins are sticking together.

According to a source, the Patriots signed Jason McCourty to a 2-year deal on Wednesday. The cornerback came into this week as the most prominent member of the Patriots secondary to enter free agency. The contract agreement came together hours before free agency officially began at 4 p.m. This deal also allows him to play another season with his twin brother, safety Devin McCourty.

Acquired in a trade last offseason with Cleveland, McCourty brought valuable experience, versatility and leadership to the Patriots defense. He started 11 of 16 games and finished with 70 tackles, 10 deflections and an interception.

McCourty also started Super Bowl LIII and came up with one of the biggest plays of game, knocking a would-be touchdown out of Brandin Cooks hands as the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams.

The 31-year-old also prided himself on helping out the younger cornerbacks on the Patriots — J.C. Jackson, Duke Dawson and Keion Crossen. He served as a mentor for the three rookies. Now, he’ll help the defense as they move on without cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer and defensive coordinator Brian Flores. It’ll also help that McCourty is familiar with new defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who coached the McCourty brothers at Rutgers.

Last season marked the first time the McCourty twins played together in the NFL. They also became the first twins to start a Super Bowl together. Overall, the past year was a wild one for McCourty.

Pats eye TE Jared Cook

With no answer from Rob Gronkowski, it appears that the Patriots are checking in on free agent tight ends.

According to the NFL Network, the Patriots are “doing their homework” on free agent Jared Cook. The 31-year-old tight end is coming off his best NFL season. Last year, he caught 68 passes for 896 yards and six touchdowns with the Oakland Raiders and earned the first Pro Bowl honors of his career.

This year marks Cook’s 11th in the NFL and currently, he’s one of the top tight ends available. Cook has also played for Tennessee, St. Louis and Green Bay. Other free agent tight ends include Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Tyler Eifert.

With Gronk’s status uncertain, it makes sense for the Patriots to prepare to play without their star tight end. In the event that Gronkowski retires, the Pats will likely dip into the free agent market and the draft. It’s possible they do that even if Gronk returns since this is the second offseason where Gronk has debated his future.

Gronk’s agent Drew Rosenhaus appeared on Peter King’s podcast this week and said he still doesn’t know what the tight end will do.

“He loves football. He loves playing with (Tom) Brady and (Bill) Belichick and his teammates. He loves to win championships, Rosenhaus said. “But at the same time, the amount of pain and punishment that he’s had to endure, for somebody who can do something outside of football and be a huge success — whether it is broadcasting, or acting, or endorsements — Rob has so many opportunities. It is a tough decision. I am sure he would love to play football, but at the same time he has to consider where he is from a physical standpoint.”