Ravens Named ‘Best Fit’ for Former Defensive Player of the Year

Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore prepares for game against Dolphins.

Getty Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore prepares for game against Dolphins.

Free agency has been ongoing for over a week now and although top players have been flying off the shelf, there is still gems out there to be had for the patient general manager. For the Baltimore Ravens and Eric DeCosta, it could mean making a run at former Defensive Player of the Year CB Stephon Gilmore.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wrote an article on “Best team fits for 20 unsigned players” and named the Ravens as the “Best Fit” for the veteran corner.

Barnwell wrote, “Gilmore has been consistent across multiple teams and defenses; he has produced a passer rating in coverage between 73 and 83 in five of the past six seasons, with the lone exception being his Defensive Player of the Year campaign with the Pats, when that mark fell to 44.1.”

“Gilmore is still a capable man cornerback, but the Cowboys kept him on one side of the field, so he wasn’t often traveling with the opposing team’s best wide receiver,” Barnwell went on to say.

The Ravens signed Arthur Maulet to man their nickelback/slot position on Tuesday, March 19, but could still be looking for another contributor for the defensive backs corps.

Barnwell cautioned, “He’s not the receiver-eraser he was during his peak with Bill Belichick, but he’s not getting paid to be that player.”

Spotrac’s market value tool has a projected value of 1-year, $11 million but at this point in free agency DeCosta may wait it out to see if the cost goes lower.

Stephon Gilmore Brings Veteran and Super Bowl Experience

Gilmore was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2012 draft and has made his way around the league during his illustrious career. The corner was exceptional for the Bills and was named to a Pro Bowl in 2016, but really took off after that.

Unfortunately for the Bills, Gilmore’s career took off with division rival New England Patriots where he was a defensive monster.

In four years with the Patriots, he was named to the Pro Bowl four times, named All-Pro First Team twice, and won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019.

Additionally, Gilmore was a key member of the 2018 Patriots’ Super Bowl team where he had two interceptions in the playoffs, including a pick of Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff in the Super Bowl.

Barnwell wrote, “Gilmore has played for four different teams in four years, which reinforces both his value as a veteran cornerback and the reticence of teams to commit to him on a multiyear deal.”

Since leaving the Patriots, Gilmore has been a key contributor for the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts and the Cowboys.

In his 13-year career, the corner has amassed 31 interceptions, 140 passes defended and 561 combined tackles.

Ravens’ Cornerback Group Could Use a Boost

The Ravens cornerback group played exceptionally well during the 2023 season, but they dealt with adversity for almost the whole season.

“Cornerback was a roller coaster for the Ravens last season because of injuries. Marlon Humphrey was in and out of the lineup with various ailments, and Rock Ya-Sin got hurt in the summer and never got back his full-time job,” Barnwell explained.

Veterans Ronald Darby and Maulet were counted on to provide valuable snaps to fill the holes. Brandon Stephens also played a key role and had a breakout but according to Barnwell, “The organization aborted the plan to move Brandon Stephens to safety and kept him at cornerback.”

Barnwell wrote, “Darby, Maulet and Ya-Sin are all free agents, leaving Humphrey and Stephens as the two top corners on the roster.” While the Ravens were able to bring back Maulet, Darby left for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Barnwell goes on to explain, “Signing Gilmore would lock down one side of the field for the Ravens, giving them flexibility as they approach the rest of their offseason.”

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