It appears the Philadelphia Eagles may be out of the running on a blockbuster trade for one All-Pro cornerback. Stephon Gilmore has been angling for a new contract from the New England Patriots, but “The Hoodie” doesn’t seem interested. Gilmore will turn 31 years old on September 19, plus he’s two years removed from his Defensive Player of the Year campaign.
Gilmore, a four-time Pro Bowler, sniped just one interception in 11 games last season after leading the NFL with six picks and 20 passes defensed in 2019. Some believe the stud corner has begun an expected decline, totally discounting the fact he tested positive for COVID-19 in October. Gilmore has plenty of gas left in the tank.
The Patriots are in no rush to get to the negotiating table with arguably the top shutdown cornerback in football. He skipped mandatory minicamp and declined to attend spring OTAs in New England. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Patriots could be holding out for a first-round pick (see: Julio Jones) but it would have to be for a team that runs the right defense.
And from a “contending team.” Here is what Fowler told WEEI’s “The Ken & Curtis Show” in Boston (via NESN):
It’d have to be the right defense, right time, contending team. Certainly there’s value (in Gilmore), (but) at that age I just don’t know if it’s (worth) a first-round pick or not? But it’d be a good pick.
So there would be good value (for Gilmore), I just don’t know if a team would be willing to give up a first right now because of the money you’d have to pay on a new deal. Plus he’s such a good fit in New England, I mean he could fit in a lot of defenses, but he’s perfect for what they do right now. So I’d probably say a two and another pick. Maybe a two and a four and another pick.
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Eagles Have Assets, Not Salary Cap Space
A Patriots-Eagles swap for Gilmore was always seen as a long shot due to the nightmarish salary-cap situation in Philly. General manager Howie Roseman just doesn’t have the financial flexibility to give the two-time All-Pro the max extension he’s seeking. Sure, the Eagles could absorb his $7 million in base salary for 2021 but that’s not what Gilmore wants.
The South Carolina product is looking to cash in once more before he hangs up his cleats. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer thinks Gilmore is looking for the same contract that Darius Slay inked with the Eagles in 2020, one that pays him roughly $16.66 million per year. That kind of deal wouldn’t fit into Roseman’s budget. It’s unfortunate because Philly has more than enough draft capital to make a trade: potentially three first-rounders in 2022.
“I think he’s looking for Darius Slay’s extension,” Breer told NBC10 Boston. “The Slay comparison makes some sense because it’s Slay’s third contract. He was near 30 years old. The Patriots will tell you the Eagles may already regret doing that.”
Pro Football Focus Lists Top 32 Corners
Pro Football Focus released its yearly list of the top cornerbacks in the NFL and put severe disrespect on Slay’s name. The Eagles starter ranked No. 23 among the top 32 corners in football as they noted his PFF grade dropped to 59.5 across the last two years. Slay had earned a 94.0 from 2014 through 2018.
Gilmore came in at No. 6 on the All-Star grouping, right behind Jaire Alexander (No. 1, Green Bay Packers), Jalen Ramsey (No. 2, Los Angeles Rams), Marlon Humphrey (No. 3, Baltimore Ravens), Xavien Howard (No. 4, Miami Dolphins), James Bradberry (No. 5, New York Giants). Interestingly, free-agent Steven Nelson earned the No. 13 spot.
PFF wrote: “Nelson ranks among the top 10 cornerbacks in the league in both completion rate allowed (53.9%) and passer rating allowed (75.1) among 68 players at the position to see at least 100 targets since 2019. There’s a reason he has received plenty of interest since his release.”