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NFL teams share similar hesitation amid Stephon Gilmore trade rumors

Stephon Gilmore was the subject of NFL trade rumors during the 2020 season and early this spring, but a deal never came to fruition. Now, amid a contract dispute, the possibility of the All-Pro cornerback being traded is being discussed around the league.

New England started shopping Gilmore in November and the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year generated significant interest. But a deal never came to fruition due to the Patriots’ asking price. Hoping the cost would come down in the final year of his contract, many expected a trade early offseason.

But once again, a deal never materialized. Focus then shifted to the 2021 NFL Draft, where the Patriots could use Gilmore as a huge trade chip. When the draft passed and Gilmore was still on the roster, it seemed increasingly likely he would stay in New England for the 2021 season.

It seems things have taken a turn in Foxborough. As the Patriots report for mandatory minicamp, it’s unknown whether or not Gilmore will be in attendance. He isn’t happy about his contract, a deal that doesn’t reflect his level of play. As a result, trade chatter is heating up.

Related: 4 ideal Stephon Gilmore trade scenarios

If the Patriots aren’t able to find a resolution with their star defender, moving him might be the result. However, it seems there is hesitation around the league about a Gilmore trade.

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Latest update on Stephon Gilmore

Entering the final year of his five-year, $65 million contract, Gilmore is set to earn a $7 million base salary this season. While part of that is because the Patriots pushed $4.5 million of that into his 2020 salary, the current deal lags behind the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL.

  • Kendall Fuller: $10 million base salary
  • Xavien Howard: $12.075 million base salary
  • Byron Jones: $14 million base salary

Gilmore wants a new contract and that likely means a multi-year deal worth at least $17 million per season, which would place him among the five highest-paid corners for average annual salary. NFL teams would have little issue paying that price if Gilmore was a free agent. But the financial cost combined with the Patriots’ asking price is the big issue.

“There are issues, teams that are interested in him know that he’s not happy with the contract. So you have to give up something to get him and you probably have to give him a new contract. That makes teams reluctant to give up the kind of value the Patriots are wanting.”

ESPN’s Dan Graziano on hesitations with Stephon Gilmore trade

ESPN’s Mike Reiss further analyzed the situation and where things stand for the Patriots. If Gilmore skips mandatory minicamp, New England can excuse the absence to prevent Gilmore from being fined.

But this is a delicate situation and months of trade rumors make it increasingly likely that Gilmore’s days with the Patriots are numbered. If he is moved, Stephon Gilmore will be a monumental addition to whatever defense adds him.