Not trading Stephon Gilmore at deadline now presents Pats with big issue in offseason


The Patriots not trading CB Stephon Gilmore at the deadline may have been a mistake.

After the Patriots fell to Buffalo this past weekend, seemingly every fan in New England prepared for at least one big-name player to be dealt prior to Tuesday’s deadline. That collective feeling was understandable as it was reported that they could become huge sellers with an ultimate goal of stockpiling as much salary cap space and draft capital as possible for the offseason.

When all was said and done, however, Bill Belichick didn’t ship away any of his star players. In fact, his only action leading up to the cutoff came in the form of acquiring wide receiver Isaiah Ford from the Dolphins in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2022.

In terms of unloading players, cornerback Stephon Gilmore was mentioned in rumors as potential trade bait for the third time since last offseason, but no deal came to be. Now, however, the Patriots’ already-colossal offseason just became markedly more significant.

In a vacuum, the Patriots will have to determine whether Gilmore is a part of their long-term plans or whether they should (once again) shop him before the draft. The All-Pro corner is still only slated to earn a $7 million salary and $500,000 in per game roster bonuses next season, which is downright criminal when you consider his production over the last four years.

With those numbers in mind, you might think that giving Gilmore another raise would be an easy solution, right? Not even close. Because of previous tweaks to his roster bonus, he is on the books for a hefty $16.4 million cap hit next season. We want the Patriots to preserve money as much as the next fan, but Gilmore’s been a world-beater since coming over from Buffalo and deserves a new-and-improved deal.

Keep in mind that this might be Gilmore’s last chance to ink a massive extension. He turns 31 next September and likely only has three years of his prime remaining. Because of that, the Patriots should be expecting the former first-round pick to play hardball.

For them — as Jeff Howe noted in his latest piece for The Athletic — offering Gilmore a deal in the range of two years for $28 million would make the most sense. However, he might want the security of a three-year (possibly a four-year) deal, and the ever-stingy Belichick might not be willing to offer him that kind of luxury.

Not to mention, that sort of extension would only make him only the ninth-highest paid player at his position. Per Spotrac, the following players would all make more annually than Gilmore if that proposed deal came to fruition.

  • Jalen Ramsey ($20 million)
  • Marlon Humphrey ($19.5 mil)
  • Tre’Davious White ($17.25 mil)
  • Darius Slay ($16.8 mil)
  • Byron Jones ($16.5 mil)
  • Xavien Howard ($15.05 mil)
  • James Bradberry ($14.5 mil)
  • Patrick Peterson ($14.01 mil)

If that turns out to be the case, Gilmore could easily demand a trade to a team willing to make him one of the wealthiest cornerbacks in the league for the rest of his prime. When you consider that the Patriots received no calls on him after their reported asking price of a first-rounder and a player in return was revealed, chances are potential buyers would only be willing to fork over a second-rounder and go from there.

It’s really anyone’s guess as to whether Gilmore will be on the Patriots in 2021, but Belichick making it difficult to trade him before the Nov. 3 deadline has presented a massive issue once March rolls around.