Troubling ‘Progress’ Update on Stephon Gilmore’s Contract Extension Talks

Getty Bill Belichick

In just over a week, the New England Patriots will be reporting to training camp, and there is more reason to believe they will be there without star cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

The latest news around his potential contract extension could be worse, if you among those who want to see the former Defensive Player of the Year return to New England, but it’s also not great.

Gilmore and the Patriots Have Made No Progress in Contract Extension Talks: Report

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer mentioned Gilmore in the latest edition of Monday Morning Quarterback.

Breer acknowledges, he believes a deal between the two sides will get done. However, he also describe the situation as “very uncertain.”

Breer wrote:

My belief is the Stephon Gilmore situation in New England remains very uncertain. Part of it’s that Gilmore isn’t yet completely out of the woods in coming back from the torn quad he suffered last year. But a bigger part is where he and the team are contractually, with Gilmore’s going into the final year of his deal. My understanding is there’s been no recent progress toward either extending Gilmore, or giving him a raise for 2021, but that could change with people coming back off vacation in the coming days. As we explained in last week’s mailbag (among other places), this will likely come down to Gilmore’s either getting a Darius Slay–style extension, or having achievable incentives added to his deal, like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski near the end of their time in New England. But the bottom line is that the time is coming to get something done here. The Patriots knew last September when they moved $5 million in his contract up a year that they’d be here—Gilmore was never going play the final year of his deal at $7 million—so this is no surprise to anyone. And failing to get something done, and get Gilmore in a good place going into this year, would only undermine all the work Bill Belichick did to overhaul the roster in March and April. Which is where Gilmore’s leverage is. Belichick’s leverage, of course, is in the $50,000 daily fines Gilmore would incur by not showing up for camp. But even if Gilmore shows up, my guess is, absent a contract adjustment, he’d probably take his sweet time with the quad. Bottom line, the best thing for everyone is to address it soon. I think these two sides will.

The interesting aspect of Breer’s take focuses on Gilmore’s injured quad. There is so implication in the text that suggests the Patriots may not be convinced the 30-year-old is completely healthy.

If there is a question he will miss training camp, preseason and a portion of the regular season, that may be enough to cause Patriots head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick some trepidation.

Trading Gilmore Would Be Risky

If the Patriots elected to trade Gilmore, they would undoubtedly want draft assets, but you can also make the argument New England would need to get a starting-caliber cornerback in return as well.

Without Gilmore, the Patriots would be down two players at the position who played significant roles on the defense in 2020. Jason McCourty signed with the Miami Dolphins this offseason. New England could turn to the likes of Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones or Joejuan Williams to fill the spot. However, it might be better to replace the depth by seeking a young player a team can offer for the right to upgrade their secondary with Gilmore’s presence.

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