What will Bill Belichick do with Stephon Gilmore?
That’s one of the biggest questions surrounding the New England Patriots. NFL teams were calling about Gilmore, but no deal was swung. Now the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is on injured reserve.
That pauses things for now, but according to multiple reports, the Patriots had a serious offer from the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints Tried to Acquire Stephon Gilmore
John Sigler of USA Today referenced a report from NFL.com‘s Ian Rapoport that says the New Orleans Saints tried to acquire the New England Patriots’ Stephon Gilmore before they swung a deal with the Houston Texans for Bradley Roby. Sigler wrote:
Rapoport clarified that the Saints offered the Denver Broncos “a really solid draft pick” for Kyle Fuller, though general manager George Paton decided to hang onto his big free agent acquisition. He adds that the Saints also called after New England Patriots No. 1 corner Stephon Gilmore, but to no avail. In the end, it’s more-or-less worked out for everyone. The Saints landed Roby, who is expected to make his first start for New Orleans on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Fuller is stepping up for Denver after starter Ronald Darby was sent to injured reserve for a few weeks. And Gilmore is out of action on the physically unable to perform list with an offseason injury. Maybe Fuller is a better player than Roby, but the Saints may have needed to give up more than they spent to acquire Roby (a 2022 third rounder and conditional sixth rounder in 2023) to pry him away. Maybe everyone is just where they’re supposed to be.
The Saints could have used Roby, Fuller or Gilmore on Sunday when they were steamrolled by the Carolina Panthers 26-7. The Saints surrendered 305 passing yards to Sam Darnold, a quarterback who hadn’t hit that mark in a single game in almost 2 years.
Meanwhile, the Patriots’ defense was in fine form on Sunday as they dismantled Darnold’s old team and the rookie quarterback drafted to take his place.
That brings up another question.
Do the Patriots Still Need Stephon Gilmore?
The short answer to that question is: yes. Although, after watching the Patriots’ defense against the New York Jets on Sunday, it is easy to think that maybe the unit could survive without him. However, it’s important to remember, the four interceptions and four sacks the Patriots’ defense racked up came against a rookie quarterback in his second regular season game.
While it’s improper to take all of the Patriots’ defensive shine away, it wouldn’t be objective to suspect the unit will be this dominant each week. If healthy and in form, Gilmore is still one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Bringing him back in that state can only strengthen the Patriots’ defense and team overall.