The New England Patriots’ roster for next season is largely set in stone, though the finishing touches will be made through free agency and the upcoming draft.
As encouraging as that sounds, however, they still have questions concerning the futures of several players, including cornerback Stephon Gilmore, whose contract situation remains a focal talking point among pundits and analysts.
Gilmore is entering the final year of his deal, which is slated to pay him a lowly $7 million this upcoming season, and it speaks volumes about how far apart both sides are in negotiations that multiple other players on the team have already inked extensions this offseason.
While the Patriots were actively shopping Gilmore leading up to the 2020 trade deadline and during the early part of last campaign, those rumors have simmered over the last couple of months as a result of his season-ending quad injury.
With that in mind, it’s likely that Gilmore will end up sticking around. Though that could change if the Patriots are blown away by an offer, they should prioritize getting him signed to an extension as soon as humanly possible. But what deal would work best for both parties?
What would a fair contract extension for Stephon Gilmore look like?
Gilmore’s contract has been a headache for two consecutive years now, and the Patriots bought themselves time by giving him a raise last offseason. Assuming he isn’t keen on receiving another temporary boost, however, it’ll probably take a fresh extension to convince him to stay.
Given that New England normally refrains from handing out long-term deals to stars who are entering the proverbial back nine of their careers (Gilmore is approaching his age-31 season), we’re probably looking at something like a two-year, $35 million extension.
Such a deal would give the Pro Bowler an annual average value of $14 million through 2023, which would make him the eighth-highest paid cornerback in the league. Though you can argue that he deserves to be higher on the list, his earnings would be similar to what he banked across his original five-year, $65 million deal.
For context, here’s a quick breakdown of Gilmore’s earnings throughout that contract:
- 2017: $16.9 million
- 2018: $15 million
- 2019: $10 million
- 2020: $14.7 million
- 2021: $7 million
The Patriots could typically justify nickel-and-diming Gilmore, but that simply isn’t possible after they were free agency’s biggest spenders. The shopping spree greatly improved their roster and has head coach Bill Belichick poised to return to the playoffs after a disappointing season.
Keeping one of the league’s most dominant corners would only heighten New England’s ceiling, and a two-year, $35 million deal just seems fair for both parties. The Pats have plenty of cap space and can convert some of that money into a signing bonus.
Not only does it fight right into the short-term philosophy they implemented this offseason, but it would serve as a significant upgrade to Gilmore’s criminal $7 million base salary.