According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Gilmore didn’t hurt his knee, but instead partially torn his quad. He’ll have surgery to repair the injury, but the recovery doesn’t figure to be as lengthy and rigorous as it would have been for a torn ACL.
Considering how it looked, the injury could have been much worse for Stephon Gilmore. His knees are fine, the quad should heal and he’ll he back to 100% long before next season. https://t.co/Zfz9UAUUgN
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 21, 2020
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Huge Break for Gilmore and the Patriots
While Gilmore is out for the season and the Patriots were eliminated from postseason contention with their 22-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the injury update is still a win for New England in the long run.
We don’t know if the team has or had plans to bring the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and Pro-Bowler back in 2021, or if they plan to trade him. However, if his injury was more severe, his time away and questions about his future might have diminished his value.
Gilmore is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, but at 30 years old, he can’t afford to lose a step. If he has a successful surgery and can return to top form, the Patriots could still procure some value in a trade. New England has solid depth at corner with Pro-Bowl snub J.C. Jackson, Johnathon Jones, Jason McCourty, and promising undrafted rookie Myles Bryant.
When you consider they could find a veteran to sign for depth and even draft another player at the position, it’s easy to see how the Patriots could absorb losing Gilmore. Had he been hurt worse, their asking price would have to be much lower if there would be any takers at all.
For Gilmore, the injury is a negative for the obvious inconvenience, but it might have also robbed him of the big payday generally associated with winning an individual award like DPOY.
The Patriots rewarded Gilmore with a raise earlier in the season, but he has yet to cash in on his hardware. That will probably happen after the 2021 season. Again, a more serious injury would have wrecked that concept.
Gilmore’s Absence Equates to Proving Grounds
Many believe Jackson was snubbed for the Pro Bowl, and it’s hard to argue considering he has eight interceptions on the season. Still, playing the final two games against division opponents without Gilmore will put Jackson in a position to prove to everyone that he is a No. 1 corner.
Likewise, the veteran McCourty must show he’s still capable of playing at a high level as well. Jones and Bryant are breathing down his neck and already garnering a good amount of snaps. With everyone slotting up in Gilmore’s absence, every cornerback on the roster has to show their best over the final two weeks of the season.
While the Patriots may not have the playoffs to look forward to, there is always next year, and some of the corners need to prove their value.
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