"I really didn't know," McCourty told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Monday evening. "There was no real information from them on if it was going to be me or (Gostkowski). So I was kind of going off of what everybody else was going off, with what people were reporting as far as sources and all that. So, I guess it's more realistic now that (there's) a chance that I might not be back (in New England)."
McCourty had previously taken the unorthodox public approach of calling the tag -- despised by a majority of players and their representatives -- "player-friendly." It wasn't much of a question if the safety would stay in New England for the long term. Now, that isn't so sure.
"I want to play there, but I also understand it's a business," McCourty said. "I don't want to play there no matter what, but I want to be back. We'll have to see how it works out."
McCourty, in his prime at 27 years old, will command top dollar. That will come in the form of a long-term deal with the Patriots, or with an outside suitor with deep pockets and in need of a safety. There are multiple of the latter, which are likely drooling at the thought of adding McCourty to their roster.