Source: Patriots to bring back Jason McCourty

The New England Patriots are bringing back cornerback Jason McCourty on a two-year deal, a source told ESPN.

The Patriots had acquired McCourty and a 2018 seventh-round draft pick from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a 2018 sixth-round pick on March 15, 2018. The Browns had been prepared to release McCourty when the Patriots called to inquire about trading for him.

That aggressive approach, which paired McCourty with his twin brother, Devin, on New England's roster, paid off for the team. McCourty played in all 16 regular-season games, with 12 starts. He also played in all three playoff games, making a key play in Super LIII when he broke up a would-be touchdown to Los Angeles Rams receiver Brandin Cooks in the back of the end zone after sprinting a long way to jar the ball free.

McCourty totaled 68 tackles, one interception and 10 passes defended during the regular season. Teammates and coaches cited his leadership on numerous occasions during the season, as playing for the 0-16 Browns in 2017 brought a different type of outlook to the locker room.

"We get in a routine, we've won a lot of football games, and it's always good to get a perspective of what it takes, so you're not kind of getting worn down or thinking, 'We're working hard, this is too much,'" Devin McCourty said of his brother during the season.

Jason McCourty, who turns 32 in August, had said his first choice would be to return to the Patriots in 2019.

The Patriots also agreed to terms with free-agent running back Brandon Bolden on a two-year deal, a source confirmed to ESPN.

This will be a return to New England for Bolden, who was with the Patriots from 2012 to 2017 before spending the 2018 season in Miami. Bolden is more of a reserve and special-teams player as well as a strong locker-room presence. NFL Network first reported this agreement.

The Patriots are also close to finalizing a deal that would bring back outside linebacker John Simon, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Simon had been a surprise cut by the Indianapolis Colts after the 2018 preseason, following one season of a three-year, $13.5 million deal.

He played an unsung role in New England's Super Bowl season, a year that culminated with him playing 85 defensive snaps over three playoff games -- highlighting, in part, how his role grew as games became more important.

A few weeks ago, Simon told ESPN: "There's been some talks, and things look promising. ... I enjoyed my time playing for Bill [Belichick]. I think he's a great coach, and I'd definitely love to play for him again."

NFL Network first reported that an agreement was close.