Heading into a tumultuous offseason, it felt like a foregone conclusion that the New England Patriots would rid themselves of an impending headache.
And it seems rival executives agree.
Stephon Gilmore is entering a contract year and will be making a base salary of just $7 million.
We heard unsubstantiated rumors during the year that Gilmore wasn’t pleased with his situation, and while we have no idea if that’s true, we wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.
He’s one of the best in the game and has largely been on a bargain deal ever since coming to New England.
But according to the latest buzz, it won’t be the Patriots who will be resolving this issue for the All-Pro cornerback. There’s widespread belief among NFL general managers that the Pats will be trading Gilmore this offseason.
Here’s what Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports is reporting:
"“Most GMs have considered it a foregone conclusion that the Patriots would trade top corner Stephon Gilmore this offseason and I haven’t heard anything about a contract extension, so a trade still seems like an eventuality.”"
Are you surprised? Though the Pats have among the best salary cap situations in the league, Gilmore doesn’t fit whatever window the organization is attempting to establish at this point. You’d have to guess he has two more really good years left in the tank, and Bill Belichick certainly isn’t going to use his valuable cap space on retaining a veteran that doesn’t have a long-term future when he needs to address a number of other positions that don’t have in-house help.
Additionally, Gilmore is coming off a season-ending quad injury, so that’s even more of a reason for the Pats not to pay him when they already have guys like JC Jackson (who they need to take care of with a new contract), Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams and Myles Bryant.
In a perfect world, the Patriots trade Gilmore, get reasonable draft pick compensation for him (a second-rounder?) and his new team gives him a lucrative two- or three-year extension. Everyone’s satisfied with that scenario.
Gilmore’s run in New England was nothing short of incredible, but his struggles were magnified in the bizarre 2020 campaign in which the defense lost a number of key contributors. On top of that, the Pats managed to get by without him when he was absent for five games.
As we’ve been saying for quite some time, expect Belichick to fortify his draft assets by dealing Gilmore as the Patriots look toward a new future in 2021.