The New England Patriots have a dilemma on their hands with Stephon Gilmore’s contract holdout, and they only have themselves to blame.
After all, this could’ve been prevented last offseason had they just given Gilmore a new-and-improved deal instead of borrowing some of his salary for 2021.
Now, however, the star cornerback is slated to make a measly $7 million in the final year of his contract.
That salary ranks nowhere near the top of the highest-paid list at the position, and Gilmore reminded his Twitter followers of that in a tetchy reply tweet to a post from CBS Sports that listed the wealthiest cornerbacks in terms of annual average value.
In terms of dominance in coverage, Gilmore’s been at least a top-three player at the CB position since he joined the Patriots four years ago. Unfortunately for fans, it remains to be seen whether New England is willing to give him a contract that reflects his body of work.
So how can they fix this?
What’s the richest contract the Patriots could offer Stephon Gilmore?
Back in 2017, Gilmore inked a five-year, $65 million deal with the Patriots, that included $40 million in fully guaranteed and $31 million up front at the time of signing. Needless to say, the cornerback market has changed significantly since then, as Jalen Ramsey signed for a record-setting $20 million per year and Marlon Humphrey signed for a hefty $19.5 million.
As things stand, Gilmore’s $13 million annual average has him tied for 12th with Adoree Jackson, who signed with the Giants to be their No. 2 corner. That’s nothing short of ridiculous when you look at Gilmore’s overall body of work.
During the last four seasons (56 games), the perennial world-beater has racked up 185 tackles, 11 interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, and 56 pass breakups.
Despite splurging in free agency, New England still has a whopping $20.12 million in remaining cap space, which is good for the sixth-most in the NFL. In other words, they have plenty of financial wiggle room to catapult Gilmore into the top three or four highest-paid CBs.
The Patriots obviously shouldn’t give him a blank check, but a contract along the lines of three years for $52 million should appease both sides. Not only would it align with New England’s cap situation, but it would make Gilmore the fourth-wealthiest corner in the league.
For context, a $17.3 million annual salary would rank just behind Ramsey, Humphrey and the underrated Tre’Davious White. While Gilmore would no doubt love to rank No. 1 on this exclusive list, he really has no business doing so entering his age-31 season. Not only that, but the average age of the three players listed ahead of him is 25.3.
If New England is reluctant to sign Gilmore through his age-33 season, they could just as easily offer him a two-year, $34.6 million deal. In any event, the bottom line is that the Pats shouldn’t, under any circumstances, go any further than a maximum value of $17.3 million per year.