The Patriots could look to trade Stephon Gilmore in the offseason.
If we were to guess, the New England Patriots opted not to sell at the deadline and trade team leaders in Stephon Gilmore and Joe Thuney because they didn’t want to send the wrong message to the locker room. After all, this is likely still a contending team when they’re healthy and don’t have a league-high eight player opt-outs.
But then again, Gilmore is only signed through 2021 and Thuney is under the franchise tag for this year. If the Patriots wanted to get value and have a chance at orchestrating a mini-rebuild ahead of next season, they wasted that opportunity at the trade deadline.
And when you look at Gilmore and Thuney, both are hardly a lock to return. Thuney will be a free agent, so the Patriots will likely have to blow him away with a big offer. As for Gilmore, he’s going to want a contract extension, which Belichick might not be keen on giving him. If that’s the case, then what’s Gilmore’s trade value going to be in the offseason?
Here’s what ESPN’s Mike Reiss wrote a couple of days before Tuesday’s deadline.
"“If a team was willing to part with a high draft pick (e.g. first two rounds), my sense is that would be something coach Bill Belichick would consider acting on, knowing he has a possible up-and-coming star in J.C. Jackson already in house. Otherwise, I see Gilmore finishing out the season in New England as the team’s No. 1 corner, and then the sides can figure out where to go from there in knowing that his contract — an under-market $7 million base salary in 2021 after the team essentially gave him a $5 million advance this year — requires attention.“Gilmore putting his home up for sale, somewhat similar to QB Tom Brady in 2019, could be viewed as a statement to the organization that he’s pulling up roots. Perhaps he’s saying contractual hardball is part of his plan next year.”"
Reports also suggested that the Patriots were looking for a first-round pick and a player in return for Gilmore. You have to think that’s no longer the case because now whatever team trades for him will only get one season out of him, inherit a $17 million cap hit, and have to figure out an extension because of how unfavorable Gilmore’s 2021 salary is.
At best, the Patriots can now expect a second-rounder for the former All-Pro. Perhaps a couple of mid-rounders can do the job too, since that’s where Belichick does his best work in the draft anyway. And let’s not forget JC Jackson, an obvious rising star who plays opposite Gilmore, will be a restricted free agent this offseason, further complicating things for the Pats.
When you consider New England’s own problems here coupled with whatever team will be inheriting Gilmore’s situation, Belichick can’t expect a lot in return for the star corner, which now makes it feel like he’s less likely to be moved after 2020.