The Patriots gave Stephon Gilmore a raise for the 2020 season … and it feels weird.
When you’re the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, one could say you’re recession-proof. That, and, when your team has the most opt-outs in the NFL, there’s a bit more cash to go around.
On Friday, the New England Patriots restructured the contract of Stephon Gilmore and gave him a $5 million raise for the 2020 season. He’ll now make $15.5 million for his base salary, which is still only fifth in the NFL among cornerbacks, after a year in which he led the league in interceptions (6) and passes defensed (20).
Simply put, this is a move that had to be made by the Patriots.
Why? Because so many other teams get the short end of the stick (look at the Falcons and Julio Jones!) when it comes to market prices skyrocketing and players holding out for new contracts. It almost literally never happens to the Patriots.
Stephon Gilmore Contract Details
Remember we thought Bill Belichick was splurging back in 2017 when he gave Gilmore a five-year, $65 million deal? Well, the Los Angeles Rams just gave Jalen Ramsey a five-year, $105 million contract, and one could say Gilmore is better given his body of work and lack of character issues.
Also, paying your players who deserve it most sends the right message, especially for an organization that isn’t viewed all that favorably across the league.
New England has far too long been viewed as cheap since they almost pay nobody in free agency and let players who had tremendous contract years walk. Belichick isn’t one to get bogged down by the salary cap, and while it’s proven to be smart, it’s also proven to be manipulative (look at Wes Welker making just $27 million over six seasons with the Pats!).
But we can’t help but feel this raise is an indirect shot at Tom Brady, who signed mostly team-friendly contracts and took pay cuts in order to help the Patriots get better. The guy is a three-time All-Pro, three-time MVP, 14-time Pro Bowler and six-time Super Bowl champion, yet he was only the league’s highest-paid quarterback (in terms of annual salary) ONCE! He was top-three just twice.
Brady NEVER made the money he’s making now with the Bucs during his 20 years with the Patriots and this is the first time since 2009 he cracked the top-six in QB salaries for the year — and that season he made just $14.6 million (all according to OverTheCap.com).
On top of that, though we should take into account the rising costs of players and whatnot, Gilmore’s $15.5 million base salary for 2020 is larger than all of Brady’s total earnings per year with the exception of 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2019 — the latter of which shouldn’t even be a discussion because the game’s top QBs should be making way more than the CBs.
Think that’s bad? Brady made $8 million in 2008 after his 2007 MVP campaign and earned the same amount of money ($15 million) in 2017 (another MVP season) and 2018. A pay decrease and no raise! After MVP seasons!
And we’re sitting here wondering why Brady left for Tampa? The organization wasn’t willing to pay him what he deserved after making out like bandits for an overwhelming majority of his time in New England. He wasn’t getting preseason pay raises — he was taking preseason pay cuts so the team could free up cap space to make other additions.
So next time you’re fuming about Brady’s decision to spurn the Pats, look no further than this right here.