Patriots keep safety Devin McCourty from reaching free agency

Bears could look at second tier of free agent safeties after Patriots agree to re-sign Devin McCourty

As the Chicago Bears attempt to upgrade their defense over the next two months, the free-agent market will kick off Tuesday afternoon without one of the league's most coveted safeties.

The New England Patriots agreed to re-sign free safety Devin McCourtyMcCourty's agent confirmed Sunday night. Several national outlets reported the market-setting deal is worth $47.5 million over five years and includes $28.5 million guaranteed

The Bears expressed preliminary interest in McCourty but never seriously pursued him, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. 

The dropoff behind McCourty in the safeties free-agent market is significant. Rahim Moore (Denver Broncos), Da'Norris Searcy (Buffalo Bills) and Ron Parket (Kansas City Chiefs) help comprise the next tier. 

Exacerbating the Bears' outlook is a lack of high-end talent in this year's draft class. Alabama's Landon Collins is widely regarded as the only safety worth a first-round pick, and the Bears' seventh-overall selection could be too valuable to use on him, especially considering other needs in the front seven.

Strong safety Ryan Mundy and second-year free safety Brock Vereen top the Bears depth chart as of now. Incumbent starting free safety Chris Conte is headed for free agent and will not re-sign

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