There are two major events taking place in the United States next Tuesday. We are only going to talk about one of them in this here forum, though: the NFL trade deadline. While the country as a whole will wait for the results of the election — one in which you too should make your voice heard — the sports world will have its eyes on the 32 pro football teams who may or may not make moves heading into the home stretch of the regular season.
One of the most intriguing teams this year is the New England Patriots, simply because there is no telling what to expect of them. Yes, they have never been afraid of making a shocking move — just ask Jamie Collins, Logan Mankins or Richard Seymour — but 2020 still is different simply because of the team’s current 2-4 record and questions across the board.
One of them can quickly be found: Are the Patriots buyers or sellers this year?
While they could obviously be both or neither, one of the rumors making the round puts them in the latter category. As was mentioned by Pats Pulpit’s own Matthew Rewinski earlier on Wednesday, New England has reportedly explored trade offers for cornerback Stephon Gilmore. While that alone is no smoking gun just yet when it comes to them possibly moving on from the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, his name will undoubtably come up quite a bit between now and November 3rd.
It did just that during Bill Belichick’s media conference call on Wednesday morning, when Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal asked the Patriots’ head coach whether or not he would “anticipate having Gilmore on the roster past the trade deadline.” Belichick’s answer was to be expected, though, as he did not address his star cornerback’s status.
“Yeah, I don’t know anything about those,” he said.
While Belichick did not talk about Gilmore’s place on his team’s roster or within possible trade schemes, he did speak highly about the 30-year-old and his value to the Patriots defense. When asked about how he has responded to this season’s challenges, the future Hall of Famer gave a straight-forward answer before going on to praise Gilmore.
“Great. Steph works hard,” said Belichick. “He’s always ready to go. We’ve changed up what he does based on our game plan and who we’re matched up against, the team we’re playing that particular week. But he’s a very flexible player that understands what we’re trying to do and how it all fits together, and works hard to do his part in it.”
Through six games this season, Gilmore has again played an integral role in the Patriots’ defense: he appeared in every game and even after getting diagnosed with the Coronavirus ahead of the original Week 5 date set for the game against the Denver Broncos has played 365 of a possible 370 defensive snaps so far this season. Along the way, he continued to serve as New England’s number one cornerback.
While his play may not be as impressive as it was during his outstanding 2019 campaign, Gilmore is still a top-tier cornerback and as such has value to the Patriots — but also to teams looking to upgrade their secondaries with an elite player.
Rumors about a potential trade first popped up during the summer, after New England reportedly had talked to teams earlier in the year about the veteran. No trade materialized, however, and instead the two sides agreed to a pay-raise for the 2020 season: in September, the Patriots increased Gilmore’s salary from previously $10.5 million to $15.5 million while also giving him a chance to earn an additional $2 million through some new incentives.
Gilmore trade speculation resurfaced earlier this week, though, when Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated put some more fuel into the rumor machine. It remains to be seen if anything really materializes, but New England’s CB1 is still a name to watch this week — and if only because of his upcoming matchup against Stefon Diggs and his former team, the Buffalo Bills.