A solution to the Seattle Seahawks secondary woes appeared as news emerged that the New England Patriots planned to release four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The veteran corner began the season on the PUP list as he recovered from a quad injury and the two parties could not agree on a contract extension. Hours before his planned release, the Panthers struck a deal to acquire Gilmore for just a future sixth-round ending any hopes the Seahawks had of signing the corner as a free agent.
“Source told me today Stephon Gilmore was interested in coming back home,” CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones noted on Twitter. “Patriots wanted news of his release out early to leverage a possible trade, but they were always going to send him to a desirable place. Carolina meets that criteria.”
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Carroll Labeled Gilmore a ‘Terrific Football Player’
Seahawks fans may be familiar with Gilmore from his battles against DK Metcalf in the team’s 2020 matchup. After the game, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll described Gilmore and Metcalf as “two really terrific football players.”
“It was an illustration of two real frickin’ warriors that wanted to go at it,” Carroll said in September 2020, per NBC Sports Boston. “It’s a cool part of the game inside the game. They were matched up like that — they both knew all week long, I’m sure. We didn’t know until the game started, but we figured it would happen.
“And they were so hyped up and were kinda pushing and shoving right off the bat. We talked our way through that. We didn’t want DK to lose a chance to play the game we wanted to play by getting out of whack, and he didn’t back off for a second. He just played really good football. … It was just a cool battle to watch. Two really terrific football players going at it.”
Gilmore Has Made 3 Straight Pro Bowls
Gilmore made the Pro Bowl for three straight seasons and four of the last five years. The corner is just one year removed from notching six interceptions, 20 pass deflections and 53 tackles.
Gilmore is in the final season of a five-year, $65 million contract and is seeking a lucrative extension. USA Today’s Josina Anderson reported that Gilmore is searching for a $15 million annual salary, which will be a tall task coming off an injury.
“My understanding is that SFA CB Stephon Gilmore who was set to earn $7M in base salary this season is looking to earn at least $15M a year on the open market now,” Anderson tweeted. “There are several teams that can look to bolster their secondary with attrition already kicking in by week 5.”
The Seahawks Has $11 Million in Cap Space
Prior to the Panthers deal, the Seahawks made a lot of sense as a possible landing spot as the team has been sitting on $11 million in cap space, per Over the Cap. We can expect the Seahawks to continue to be linked to potential trade targets as November’s deadline gets closers.
Seattle already reshuffled their secondary in Week 4 by benching Tre Flowers in favor of Sidney Jones. After the Seahawks’ win over the 49ers, Carroll discussed the move noting he is hoping “it’s not too late” to fix the secondary.
“But we really, we grabbed him [Sidney Jones] so that he would play, and we want to see what he would do, and so we took a shot at it,” Carroll told reporters. “And I liked the thought of putting DJ back on the other side, where he played well last year, and so there’ll be a lot more that you guys will write about this stuff over time. It’s a work in progress and it takes time to get this stuff right. And, and hopefully, you know, it’s not too late.”