The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was a guest on CBS Sports Radio’s Zach Gelb Show and he spoke about New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and the former’s report wasn’t positive.
Gilmore didn’t attend OTAs and Monday, at the first day of mandatory mini-camp, the 30-year-old former NFL Defensive Player of the Year wasn’t present. It is widely believed Gilmore may be set to hold out unless he gets a new contract.
He is set to make $7 million during the 2021 season, and that’s clearly below market value for a player of his stature, and with his resume. However, the Patriots gave Gilmore a raise last season to keep him happy.
Something similar or an outright extension might be necessary to get him into a Patriots uniform in 2021. That’s Rapoport’s belief. He told Gelb Gilmore is “not going to play on his final year of his deal in New England.”
Rapoport added he does not see any scenario where Gilmore plays under his current deal, but also acknowledges there is a chance the Patriots trade him. Take a listen to the segment:
The Patriots have built what looks like a Super-Bowl-caliber defense on paper. The question is: does the unit look as good without Gilmore?
Can the Patriots Afford to Trade Gilmore?
The quick answer is no. J.C. Jackson seems ideally suited as a No. 2 corner who stacks up interceptions while opposing quarterbacks avoid throwing in Gilmore’s direction because he does a great job of taking away their primary option.
Asking Jackson to play that role and subsequently looking at a player like Jonathan Jones, Dee Virgin, or Myles Bryant to slot up doesn’t appear to be in the team’s best interest.
That said, this might be the year Jones proves to be ready for a bigger role, and Bryant showed some flashes as a rookie in 2020.
Still, it’s hard to argue the strength of the secondary without Gilmore vs. with him automatically attached to the Stefon Diggs, DeVante Parker, and Jamison Crowders in the AFC East.
Bill Belichick Has Been Evasive About Stephon Gilmore Questions
At the end of the day, Bill Belichick will make the decision on whether to oblige Gilmore’s request for a new deal, or to trade him.
Up to this point, when he has been asked questions about his star defensive back, the future Hall-of-Famer has been predictably vague. Prior to heading out to the practice field for one of the final OTAs, Belichick was asked if Gilmore was in attendance.
“Yeah, like I said, we’re kind of scrambling to get things going this morning. So, I didn’t really get a chance to see everybody myself, so we’ll see where we’re at.”
Pressed on the issue by the same reporter, and Belichick refused to get specific speaking about Gilmore.
“Well, there’s a lot of players we haven’t seen in OTAs and all the players are important and we’d like to have all of them.”
At some point, Belichick is going to have to deal with Gilmore, one way or another.
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