Stephon Gilmore’s holdout is over, at least in theory. The star cornerback, who decided to skip the New England Patriots’ entire offseason workout program including mandatory minicamp in an apparent contract dispute, reported on time to the team’s training camp.
While Gilmore has arrived at Gillette Stadium for the first time this offseason, it remains to be seen how quickly he will rejoin his teammates on the practice fields: he was among eight players sent to the physically unable to perform list on Thursday. The 30-year-old, who ended the 2020 season on injured reserve because of a partially torn quad suffered in December, can be activated off the list at any time.
Despite Gilmore’s physical and contractual statuses remaining unclear at the moment, him reporting to camp is an encouraging development for the Patriots. It shows that the two sides are not as dug in as they potentially could be, with Gilmore willing to work on his rehab in a team setting while his representatives work out a new deal.
The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is entering the final season of the five-year, $65 million contract he signed in New England back in 2017. While set to hit the Patriots’ books with a team-leading cap number of $16.3 million, his actual maximum cash intake of $7.9 million ranks him only 25th among the NFL’s cornerbacks.
Gilmore has made it known that he “just wants what [he’s] worth.”
“Hopefully we can find some common ground and get it situated,” he said earlier this month after his minicamp holdout. “I just know what I bring to the table and my style of play. Right now I’m just trying to focus on myself and make sure I’m good mentally and physically.”
Skipping mandatory minicamp was a relatively peaceful sign of protest, but things could have escalated quickly had he decided not to report to training camp: the Patriots would have been allowed to fine him up to $50,000 per day in case the holdout continued. His actions on Thursday, however, are an indication that Gilmore and his camp are open to resolving the situation under the current set of circumstances.
There are multiple ways to do just that, but the most likely are either an extension or a one-year pay raise. Regardless of what eventually happens, Gilmore has shown a willingness to keep working with the Patriots that was uncertain during the offseason.
Even though his new PUP status can be classified as a “soft” holdout of sorts, him reporting to training camp on time is a step in the right direction for both parties.