The New England Patriots finally figured out who is going to be the starting quarterback, as the release of Cam Newton confirmed that Mac Jones will be under center come Week 1, but they still have to deal with their Stephon Gilmore issue.
Despite the fact he showed up at training camp, he’s eyeing either a new contract or a trade elsewhere.
Even if the Patriots magically manage to reconcile things with Gilmore and get him back on the field, he’s coming off of quad surgery that he underwent near the end of last season, and that could make it tough for him to play at his usual All-Pro level.
The Patriots need Gilmore to come back and play like the star they know he can be in order to elevate the defense and give a rookie quarterback in Jones some extra breathing room and security. Unfortunately, they’ll have to wait a few months before they can watch No. 24 take the field again.
Gilmore was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, meaning that he will miss at least the first six games of the season.
Gilmore is on track to return, at the earliest, for New England’s Oct. 24 home game against the rival New York Jets.
This injury and Gilmore’s recovery illustrate what the holdup has been with regard to his future.
Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore is out six games due to his injury rehab.
After winning Defensive Player of the Year and leading the league in interceptions, Gilmore’s play took a very slight step backward, as he missed five games due to injury and intercepted just one pass in 2020, on a Patriots team is disarray. Even with that, Gilmore was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl under Bill Belichick.
The Patriots have prepared well for this possibility. In addition to JC Jackson continuing to improve, New England seems ready to promote Kyle Dugger to an increased role in the defensive backfield while giving Jalen Mills a very nice contract of his own. Trading for Shaun Wade has also given them even more cornerback depth.
A Gilmore trade is less likely now than it has been in months. With the season about to kick off, Gilmore on the mend, and New England having restocked his position fairly well this offseason, trading him to a place that will pony up for that huge deal probably won’t happen.
With hypothetical trades for the impending free agent starting to dissipate, New England needs to hope that Gilmore returns to full health as swiftly as possible in order to aid in their quest to get back to the postseason. Now, it’s clear there will be a contract issue looming large and we’re really not sure how it will be resolved after this latest development.