A few top NFL cornerbacks have received massive deals over the past few weeks, and the New England Patriots‘ Stephon Gilmore wasn’t one of them, until Friday. Patriots analyst Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal suggested Gilmore’s quick return from the injury report may have been connected to his reported $5 million pay raise.
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Stephon Gilmore Had Been Battling a Hip Injury
Prior to Friday, Gilmore had been on the Patriots’ injury report with a hip injury. He’d been listed as limited ahead of the Week 1 matchup at home against the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins and one of his personal rivals Davante Parker.
There was some concern that perhaps Gilmore would be unable to return, or at the very least, he’d be compromised in the first game of the season.
Other Top CBs Had Received Extensions Which Now Dwarfed Gilmore’s Pay
Over the last week, we’ve seen some of the top cornerbacks in the NFL agreeing to some massive contract extensions and new deals. The Buffalo Bills, Gilmore’s former team, agreed to pay Tre’Davious White an average of $17.5 million per season.
Days later, the Los Angeles Rams agreed to an extension with Jalen Ramsey that will pay him an average of $21 million a season. At that point, Ramsey was now averaging almost double per season what Gilmore, the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, was getting.
With the Patriots sitting on a wealth of cap space, it might have been a little tough not to spread some of that cash around to the team’s best player.
Stephon Gilmore Received a $5 Million Raise For 2020 Season
On Friday, Gilmore’s pay was raised to $15.5 million for the 2020 NFL season. That was up from the $10.5 he was scheduled to make in the fourth year of a five-year $65 million contract. At the time, the deal was one of the richest in the NFL for a player at his position.
The pay raise and Gilmore’s return to practice as a full participant happened on the same day. Bedard’s tweet implies perhaps Gilmore was staging a soft holdout of sorts, or that the Patriots didn’t want to risk angering their best defensive player by underpaying him according to league standards for elite cornerbacks.
Is this really the case? We may never know, but needless to say, the Patriots and their fanbase are likely happy to see Gilmore back on the field.