There are no shortage of teams being linked to Stephon Gilmore after the New England Patriots cut him on Wednesday (Oct. 6). The market to sign the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year is expected to be robust, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Patriots saved $5.8 million by releasing Gilmore and his new team would be on the hook for only the remaining balance of his base salary for 2021: $1.55 million, via Spotrac. But the 31-year-old cornerback wants a lucrative extension, something his new team would have to negotiate after Gilmore made waves last July.
“I just want what I’m worth, however that plays out,” Gilmore said, via NFL Media. “Every player should be paid what they’re worth. That’s just how it is.”
The Philadelphia Eagles immediately come to mind as a possible suitor. For starters, they were rumored to be working on trade for Gilmore in 2020 so interest has always been there. Also, the cornerback room in Philly has left a lot to be desired through the first four weeks. Darius Slay’s 68.5 coverage grade ranks 31st in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus, and Steven Nelson’s 64.0 coverage grade ranks 47th. Avonte Maddox has been their best corner at 69.4.
Of course, Gilmore comes at a price. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman got creative this offseason in the way he restructured several contracts, including a savvy adjustment to Fletcher Cox which freed up $11.14 million in cap space. In all, Philadelphia has $16.15 million available in 2021 and $22.73 million in 2022 (via OverTheCap).
Yes, there is money to work with in the future but some of it has already been allocated to current players. According to Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap, Roseman plans to use the cap savings from the Cox restructure to pay Jordan Mailata and Josh Sweat. Signing Gilmore seems like a waste of resources for an Eagles team in full-on rebuild mode right now.
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Clearing Waivers, Injured Player
Aside from Gilmore advancing in age, he hasn’t played a single snap this season. The four-time Pro Bowler landed on injured reserve last season and hasn’t played since Dec. 20, 2020. The Patriots put him on the PUP list at the beginning of training camp with a quadriceps injury. He’s out through Week 6.
That won’t stop teams from pursuing him. The Eagles sit in prime position to acquire Gilmore on the waiver wire by virtue of their 1-3 record which gives them the the fourth-best waiver priority. Gilmore would have to clear the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers first. Not impossible. If he goes unclaimed, expect the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tom Brady knows Gilmore from New England – to go hard at the stud corner.
Eagles Preaching Patience on Defense
Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has come under fire in recent weeks for a failed scheme. Philadelphia owns the second-worst run defense in the NFL after giving up 601 yards and four touchdowns on the ground through four weeks.
The pass defense has been better, although 491 of the 869 yards surrendered through the air have come in back-to-back weeks. And 83 total points. Gannon admitted that he’s had some heart-to-heart conversations with head coach Nick Sirianni about everything.
“He’s very demanding, but, ultimately, all the conversations that we have with the head ball coach is, ‘How can we help this team win?’ And so, that starts with Nick and I, when we talk about the defense, and then goes right down into the position coaches,” Gannon told reporters. “So we’re, obviously talking every day how we’re defending and what we’re doing, and is it acceptable, and how we can get better.”