NFC North Team Considered No. 1 Potential Suitor for Stephon Gilmore Trade

Getty Stephon Gilmore

The New England Patriots will have to make a decision on Stephon Gilmore sooner rather than later. If they elect to trade him, one NFC North team may be the top suitor.

FanSided’s Mike Luciano says the Minnesota Vikings are the top suitors for Gilmore if the Patriots decide to trade the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Luciano wrote:

Not only is Mike Zimmer a defensive head coach, but he is a guy who made his name coaching some of the best defensive backs in the game with the Cowboys in the ’90s. If anyone knows both what a great cornerback can do for his team and how to get the most out of said cornerback, it’s Zim. The Vikings have plenty of picks to give to New England in return, and they might need to surrender those picks up to take control of the division.

The Vikings’ lack of depth at corner is arguably their biggest weakness. Adding a player like Gilmore would plug a major hole. With their offense powered by Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, scoring points shouldn’t be a problem.

Gilmore could push Minnesota in the right direction on the other side of the ball.

The Patriots may not want to trade Gilmore. However, if they are unwilling to re-work his contract, which is set to pay him $7 million in 2021, New England may have to make the tough decision to trade their star.

Gilmore was a no-show at the team’s mandatory mini-camp and he also skipped OTAs. He is officially in holdout status, and with each passing day, his situation is becoming more urgent.

New England Has Built a Strong Defense, But They Need Gilmore

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says the Patriots would go from having an elite group of corners to one that is now more “vulnerable” at that position.

Breer wrote:

Losing Gilmore would mean going from having a top-five group at corner to being very vulnerable at a spot you don’t want to be. And with J.C. Jackson also in a contract year, the future is even murkier there. This one won’t be easy, and I’ll repeat what I’ve said, that I don’t see Gilmore playing at his current number. I think Darius Slay’s contract in Philly is around the price to get a long-term deal done. Maybe Gilmore will take some sweeteners to report, in lieu of a long-term deal, like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski once did. Either way, something is going to have to happen for New England to get its best player back.

What happens if the Patriots cannot retain Gilmore?

Potential Replacements for Gilmore in New England

J.C. Jackson will slot up as will Johnathan Jones. However, don’t sleep on rookie Joshuah Bledsoe making an impact at corner. He played some slot corner in college, but perhaps had the most reps at safety. Still, as he said during his introductory press conference, he can play anywhere.

“I’m a football player,” Bledsoe said. “I’m a dog. You turn on my tape and you can see it. You see me out there, I’m just doing everything. I play with high energy, with fundamentals and I’m going to get the job done.”

New England would likely prefer not to have to lean on an inexperienced player to play major reps at corner. We’ll see if they can find a way to come to a resolution to the Gilmore issue before the start of training camp in July.


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