The New England Patriots will return to the practice fields later on Monday to kick off their 2021 mandatory minicamp. Players are required to participate in the three-day event, as the name already suggests, but one prominent member of the Patriots’ roster will not be among them.
After already sitting out the voluntary portion of offseason workouts, cornerback Stephon Gilmore will also be a no-show for Monday’s practice, as first reported by Jim McBride of the Boston Globe.
A cornerstone of the New England defense ever since signing a four-year contract in free agency back in 2017, Gilmore was the subject of considerable speculation all offseason. Entering the final year of his deal, there were rumors about him possibly getting traded or holding out of the mandatory workout portion.
Now, it appears as if that latter scenario could indeed have become a reality. Gilmore, who is also recovering from a season-ending quad injury suffered last December, will not join his teammates at Gillette Stadium on Monday.
At basis of the rumors surrounding the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year lies his contract situation.
Gilmore is counting $16.3 million against the Patriots’ salary cap — the highest number on the team — but as a result of a series of contract restructures over the last three years is scheduled to play on a salary of only $7 million in 2021. Neither side is expecting that the four-time Pro Bowler will actually play under this deal, but the question is whether or not negotiations can lead to a satisfying outcome for both parties.
While that remains to be seen, Gilmore not being present for Monday’s practice adds another layer of intrigue to the situation. While he could theoretically return on Tuesday or Wednesday, a report by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo suggests otherwise. Gilmore might therefore be subject to fines if skipping minicamp without being a team-excused absentee.
Head coach Bill Belichick, meanwhile, sidestepped any questions about the star cornerback.
“We’re kind of scrambling to get things going this morning,” Belichick said during a media conference call on Monday. “We just did travel arrangements over the weekend, so not sure exactly how all of that worked out. We were close on a couple guys this morning, but we’ll catch up on that after we get done here and see where we’re at.”
Belichick noted that he would expect to have a “pretty full roster” available for minicamp, but that weather may have disrupted travel schedules.