Patriots: Stephon Gilmore reveals friction with team prior to trade

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 31: Stephon Gilmore #9 of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 31: Stephon Gilmore #9 of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots finally parted ways with Stephon Gilmore after some contentious exchanges over the offseason, shipping the South Carolina alum away while recouping a late-round pick.

As fate would have it, Gilmore’s second game as a member of the Carolina Panthers will come against his old squad.

Gilmore, who is a free agent at the end of this season, is still one of the better outside cornerbacks in the game, but the Patriots didn’t seem willing to pay him the money he was asking for.

This was long thought to be one of the main reasons Gilmore didn’t want to return.

Having said that, a quad injury made it impossible for Gilmore to get on the field near the end of his Patriots tenure. It seems like that was the source of his frustration with the organization and the driving factor behind his decision to want out.

When asked about how he left the Patriots, Gilmore was quoted as saying he “didn’t agree” with how New England managed his injury. Gilmore did mention that he has a lot of friends in New England and that the Patriots have “great coaches” on the team, but the injury mismanagement was just one step too far.

Stephon Gilmore left the Patriots due to the handling of his injury.

This situation is by no means unprecedented in the NFL. After all, Trent Williams ended up in San Francisco after feuding with Washington team doctors over his injury mismanagement. Rather than make amends, New England cut bait, and the jury is still out on if that was the best move for the long-term health of this team.

Even though it was Bill Belichick who pushed to pry him away from Buffalo and help turn him into a Defensive Player of the Year, the future Hall of Fame coach was noticeably absent from Gilmore’s goodbye letter after the move.

He still doesn’t have his new extension and might be on a worse team, so this move wasn’t completely injury or money-related. There was clearly a disconnect.

Gilmore made an impact in his first game in Carolina. In a victory over the Falcons, he gave sensational rookie tight end Kyle Pitts issues while recording an interception to seal the victory.

The Patriots might have JC Jackson on the squad and plenty of draft picks that they can use to draft a replacement, but the odds of them finding a defensive back capable of winning DPOY like Gilmore are slim.

While he’s found a home in Carolina, it’s clear that Gilmore left New England with good reason, and many fans would likely side with the guy who provided three incredible years of service that resulted in a Super Bowl victory.