The New England Patriots might be very close to making a seismic move, as cornerback Stephon Gilmore appears to be forcing the team’s hand as he either looks for a new contract or a trade out of New England.
Gilmore hasn’t shown up at New England’s mandatory minicamp, and it seems the four-time Pro Bowler and former Defensive Player of the Year isn’t going to suit up for the Patriots unless he ends up getting a reworked deal.
The Patriots might need to immediately pivot and try to find a replacement at one of their outside cornerback spots.
Considering how this secondary has already lost Jason McCourty to the Dolphins and Patrick Chung to retirement, they aren’t exactly playing with a full deck right now in the secondary.
If he is indeed on the move, someone will have to come in and fill the void.
Look for Bill Belichick and New England to consider promoting one of these three players to the starting lineup if Gilmore leaves.
3 likely replacements for Patriots star Stephon Gilmore.
3. Jalen Mills
Eagles fans may laugh at the idea of Mills replacing someone like Gilmore after he had such an up-and-down (well, mostly down) end to his tenure in Philadelphia. However, the Patriots clearly value what he can bring to the table, as evidenced by the fact that they gave him a multi-year contract.
Mills’ big selling point was his versatility, as he could line up at safety, inside cornerback, or outside cornerback. He might need to lose some of that value if Belichick sticks him outside for large chunks of the season without Gilmore, but he’s at least got some NFL experience at that position.
Jalen Mills might get some time at outside cornerback for the Patriots.
Second-round pick Joejuan Williams could finally get his chance to shine, but the Patriots won’t throw him out there unless they are 100% sure that he is up to the task, and he has done very little in his first two years in the league to convince the Patriots that he is worth being entrusted with a starting spot.
Mills is certainly a high-variance option given how he was all over the place in Philadelphia, but the Patriots might not have anywhere else to turn to if the main goal is to put someone with experience out on the field. Look for Mills to see an uptick in snaps if Gilmore is booted out of town.