The New England Patriots’ groundbreaking offseason and high hopes for next campaign are currently being overshadowed by Stephon Gilmore’s contract holdout.
Luckily for the Patriots, the extended break between mandatory minicamp and training camp creates a long enough time frame for cooler heads to prevail.
After all, the Patriots have a couple more weeks to open contract negotiations with their star cornerback.
If Gilmore really wanted out of New England, wouldn’t he have waited a little longer, like the start of training camp, to start holding out?
It certainly seems that way, and the latest buzz backs it up.
If you asked ESPN insider Jeremy Fowler for his assessment of the situation, he’d tell you — like he did on “SportsCenter” on Thursday — that Gilmore being traded this offseason is unlikely.
The latest buzz suggests a Stephon Gilmore trade is unlikely.
"“The Patriots and Gilmore know they can intensify contract talks sometime in the next few weeks”, said Fowler. “And I’m told that Gilmore has largely not expected to be traded throughout this process because he knows the Patriots have made moves with Gilmore in mind.“They haven’t gotten a cornerback to replace him. And as one source told me, ‘Do the Patriots really want to go into Week 4 against Tom Brady without their top cornerback?’ And so things are slow right now, but I expect those sides to ramp up negotiations sometime before training camp.”"
You just knew Brady was going to be involved in all this, right? In all seriousness, Fowler made some salient points here. As things stand, the Patriots, like most teams, don’t have another No. 1 cornerback waiting in the wings to replace Gilmore.
While JC Jackson can certainly develop into a premier corner, it’s worth noting he struggled filling in for Gilmore when he was injured last season. Most fans will point to Jackson getting worked by Bills receiver Stefon Diggs in Week 16 as the most damning piece of evidence.
On top of that, Gilmore likely knows that the Patriots trading him would undo almost everything they accomplished this offseason. Why would they sign big-money free agents only to unload arguably their most valuable asset on the defensive side of the ball?
They’d be insane to do so, and Gilmore, clearly aware of this, is merely holding out as a means to establish more leverage in negotiations. That says a lot about how much the perennial lockdown corner thinks he should be paid.
If you think about it, Gilmore already had significant leverage over New England after they borrowed some of his 2021 salary last year to patch up his contract dilemma.
A lot can obviously change between now and training camp, but given how much cap space the Pats have at their disposal, coupled with Gilmore seemingly having zero intentions of leaving, and it’s looking increasingly likely that the star CB won’t be traded.
How do we feel about that, Patriots fans?