The moves that are being made are not always the ones making the headlines in the NFL. Sometimes those that do not happen do as well; just take the trade speculation surrounding New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Seen as a potential candidate to be moved after the league’s trade window opened earlier this month, Gilmore has remained with the club. Even though the Patriots were the most aggressive team during the first two weeks of free agency action they held onto the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and are not actively shopping him at the moment.
Instead, the two sides are working on a different transaction: signing Gilmore to a new contract that would keep him around beyond the 2021 season.
While it remains to be seen whether or not those contract negotiations lead to a satisfying result for both parties, one recent report by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer suggests that Gilmore “would be very open” to signing an extension with the Patriots:
Was moving $4.5 million from 2021 to 2020 in his deal—the contractual equivalent of a cash advance—an acknowledgement on both sides that the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year was probably going to be seeking his final big NFL payday somewhere else in 2021? At the time, it was. But a couple things have changed since.
First, Gilmore got hurt, and his torn quad makes it tougher for the Patriots to get fair value in a trade, and tougher for another team to make a long-term commitment. Second, the Patriots ... are a lot closer to being a contender than they were two months ago. ... I’m also told, for what it’s worth, that Gilmore would be very open to signing a new deal in New England.
The Patriots not actively shopping him and Gilmore being open to signing a new deal are positive signs, but obviously no guarantee for anything. After all, a lot depends on how the Patriots value his projected contributions in 2021 and beyond. Breer’s report also touched on this:
If the Patriots think Gilmore has, say, three more good years left in him (and they know better than anyone else how the 30-year-old has taken care of his body) and they don’t want to pay promising young corner J.C. Jackson like a premier DB, you can certainly see where it’d make sense.
When Gilmore joined the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent in 2017, he signed a five-year, $65 million contract. Over the years, however, that deal was altered on more than one occasion to move around resources or free up cap space. As a result, the 30-year-old is scheduled to count $16.29 million against New England’s cap this season but play on a comparatively small salary of just $7 million.
Neither side is expecting Gilmore to spend the 2021 season under his current salary, and a contract extension might bring the adjustment needed. Of course, this goes both ways: if no agreement can be reached, the veteran defender remains a candidate to be shipped elsewhere via trade.
For the time being, however, the Patriots’ CB1 is still staying put while both sides appear willing to work things out. Doing so, in turn, would ensure that New England’s secondary remains one of the deepest in football heading into the upcoming season.