New England Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore signed his 5-year, $65 million contract with the Patriots and then flew home to watch the birth of his child on the same day. He’s had a pretty busy offseason, as covered by Monday Morning quarterback, and he’s not going to share what his role will be in the Patriots defense.
Gilmore did explain the difference between covering on the sideline versus in the slot (more on that at the end), but I was drawn to the description of Gilmore’s groomsmen because, whew, they’ve made a lot of money.
“Merging football life and personal life is nothing to Gilmore,” MMQB’s Andy Benoit writes. “When he and Gabrielle married in July 2014, among the wedding’s groomsmen were Alshon Jeffery, Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney. Add the groom and you have one wedding with four South Carolina Gamecocks turned full-fledged NFL stars.”
Those three weren’t Gilmore’s only groomsmen, so I thought it’d be fun to see how much his wedding party has made in the NFL.
NFL career: Buffalo Bills (2012-16), New England Patriots (2017-present)
Current contract: 5-year, $65,000,000
Current contract: N/A
Previous contract: 2-year, $930,000
NFL career: Houston Texans (2014-present)
Current contract: 5-year, $36,118,998
NFL career: San Diego Chargers/Los Angeles Chargers (2012-present)
Current contract: 4-year, $66,000,000
Current contract: 1-year, $9,500,000
Current contract: 3-year, $13,500,000
Charles (C.C.) Whitlock
NFL career: Minnesota Vikings (2012)
Current contract: N/A
Both Gilmore and Ingram have cashed in with top-of-the-market deals, while Jeffery and Clowney should follow suit after this upcoming season. Swearinger has a chance to earn nearly $18 million over the course of his career if his plays the whole length of his current deal.
If each of these players work to the completion of their current deals, they will have earned a combined total of $249,535,504 (via Spotrac career earnings tallies)- and with Jeffery and Clowney due for big new deals, they should comfortably exceed the quarter-billion mark.
Talk about an impressive wedding party.
As for Gilmore’s role in the Patriots defense, he won’t say whether he’ll play inside or outside or both, but he knows that he has more experience on the sideline.
“I didn’t play the slot much,” Gilmore said about his time in Buffalo. “I’m pretty sure playing outside is harder. I’ll do whatever the coaches want me to do.”
When asked to explain why playing outside is more difficult, Gilmore said, “nobody is out there, you’re on an island most of the time. You are responsible for that third of the field, especially in man-to-man. In the slot, you have to be a little quicker, but now they’re putting bigger receivers in there. You’re closer to the line and closer to the 10 players on the field and you can use that to your advantage.”
The current assumption is that Gilmore will replace Logan Ryan as the cornerback asked to cover bigger wide receivers, while Malcolm Butler continues to cover the shiftier and smaller receivers. Ryan’s value allowed him to move inside to the slot, too, as Eric Rowe stepped on the field to cover the bigger outside receivers in three-receiver sets.
Can Gilmore slide inside and allow Rowe to play a similar role in 2017? Or will Gilmore remain on the sideline and Butler will move inside? Or will Gilmore and Butler remain outside the whole game as a player like Jonathan Jones or Cyrus Jones steps up in the slot?
The Patriots have a lot of options heading into the upcoming season.