The New England Patriots have been quite active on the trade market this offseason. After re-acquiring Trent Brown from the Las Vegas last week, they later went on to send both Marcus Cannon and Ryan Izzo to the Houston Texans in two separate deals. The most popular subject of Patriots trade speculation, meanwhile, has stayed put.
Star cornerback Stephon Gilmore is still a member of the Patriots as of Day Three of the NFL’s 2021 league year. It seems as if the team is in no immediate rush to change this.
According to a report by Jeff Howe of The Athletic, New England is “not actively shopping” Gilmore at the moment. While his name has come up in trade talks over the course of the last year, no move has materialized and the team is currently not initiating trying to rid itself of the 30-year-old.
Things can change quickly in the NFL, though — just look at free agent center David Andrews’ recent return to the Patriots after all signs pointed towards him leaving. The Patriots not attempting to unload Gilmore in mid-March does not guarantee he will be on the team come the start of the regular season in September, especially under the framework of his current contract.
Gilmore is counting $16.3 million against the Patriots’ salary cap, the highest number on the team. As a result of a series of contract restructures over the last three years, however, his actual salary in 2021 is scheduled to be only $7 million. Neither side is expecting that the four-time Pro Bowler will actually play on this deal, but the question is whether or not negotiations can lead to a satisfying outcome for both parties.
The Patriots currently not shopping Gilmore can be seen as a good sign that they feel a deal is still a realistic outcome. However, they might be willing to change their collective mind if no progress is made over the coming weeks.
For now, however, the one-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year remains under contract with New England — all while the club is apparently willing to keep working on his situation.
This, in turn, gives the Patriots as solid a cornerback group as any in football right now.
With restricted free agent J.C. Jackson likely to return after being tendered at the second-round level, and with the team investing a four-year deal in hyper-versatile Jalen Mills, the quality and depth at the position is still impressive regardless of whether or not Jason McCourty is retained after joining the open market. Add starting slot cornerback Jonathan Jones, and you get a strong assortment of talent around Gilmore.