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Report: Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore may only be valued at a Day Two draft pick in a trade

Related: Buyer beware: Six moves the Patriots should make at the trade deadline

Denver Broncos v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Anyone else notice that this year, more than any other year, the degree of “we’re not saying, we’re just saying” in every trade rumor seems to have been cranked up to a level that’d even make Danny Ainge proud?

Even just on Tuesday, the Jets were allegedly interested in trading 2018 third-overall draft pick Quinnen Williams. Then they weren’t. Then Gang Green “may be listening” to offers, if an offer were to theoretically materialize, you know, hypothetically. And while the New York Jets continue to find new and creative ways to replicate the Frank-The-Tank-as-the-mascot-jumping-through-the-flaming-hoop scene from Old School in their spare time, it’s not just them, either.

Our fellow frenemies in the AFC East, the Patriots South Beach Division (not to be confused with Patriots South in Nashville, TN) — we’re talking about the Miami Dolphins, of course — were reported to be “exploring trade offers” for second-team All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard. Which led the Dolphins to issue this oddly specific refutation of said report:

“The report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is factually inaccurate and based on rumors,” the Dolphins said. “The paper practiced poor journalism by not reaching out to the team for comment or the chance to respond prior to publishing the story. We are not exploring any trades regarding Xavien Howard.”

Now, in that same report, Pro Football Talk notes that a different Miami paper had heard rumblings of trade talks involving Howard, but chose to keep a lid on it because they wanted more confirmation first. Anyway, that brings us to our New England Patriots, they of the 2-4 record and a game this weekend at the still-smoking Buffalo Bills that, while it may not fit the Brian Regan definition of a must-win game, certainly feels like, at minimum, a put-up-or-shut-up game.

With a record of 2-4, though, and no clear path to improvement other than “throw better, catch better, block better, play defense better, and play special teams better”, if we’re being real about it, it’s certainly fair to ask the question of whether the Patriots should try and use this year’s trade deadline to try and pull off the Belichick classic of trading a player a year too early for valuable draft ammo.

And as luck would have it, this year, a couple reports have already popped up about the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, cornerback Stephon Gilmore . And while Gilmore’s not exactly been ruining wide receivers’ lives at the All-Pro clip we got used to last year, he is still, undeniably, extremely good and a key piece of the Patriots defense.

Although apparently not *too* much of a key piece to be off the table in trade talks, according to The MMQB’s Albert Breer:

And now, Breer’s back on NESN with a reality check for the type of fans that think a Jalen Ramsey-type trade haul is what teams will need to pony up to talk about the Gilly Lock with Bill:

“The question then becomes what you’re willing to take for him,” Breer, laying out a scenario in which the Patriots realize they want to move Gilmore, said Sunday on NBC Sports Boston. “Because I don’t think it’s going to be a first-round pick. I can give you guys a list of 10 guys who’ve gone for first-round picks over the last two years — every single one of those guys was 27 years old or younger. So, I don’t think you’re getting a first-round pick for him.

“But if you’re willing to move him for a second or a third, I think there could be a market out there for him.”

Breer also notes that he doubts Gilmore will be a Patriot in 2021, due to the contract reshuffling that gave Gilmore an extra $5 million in base salary this season and Gilmore almost certainly wanting an extension after this season (his contract currently ends after the 2021 season).

For what it’s worth, our good buddy Miguel Benzan, who most of us know as @patscap, has already crunched the numbers through his supercomputer spreadsheets and figured out the cap ramifications of a Gilmore trade this season:

And for next season (when, let’s keep in mind, the cap is currently projected at $175 million, or almost $25 million lower than the 2020 cap of $198 million):

So even if the Patriots were to find a trade partner willing to pony up, there’s the cap-borking aspect of a possible trade that has to be considered as well.

What would you do? If an offer like what Albert Breer describes came along, would you take it?


Would you take a second or third-round pick for CB Stephon Gilmore at the trade deadline?

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