New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore has been the subject of NFL trade rumors since last season. Even as he is sidelined with an injury, the All-Pro defensive back once again finds himself mentioned as a trade candidate.
Displeased with his contract in 2020, the Patriots agreed to restructure his deal. It satisfied the 30-year-old’s desire to be among the highest-paid corners in the NFL, but New England started thinking about its future. With the cost of defensive backs rising and pass rushers becoming more valuable, reports surfaced that the Patriots were willing to trade their top cornerback.
At the time, Bill Belichick reportedly wanted at least a first-round pick to trade Gilmore to another contender during the 2020 season. When nothing came to fruition and with Gilmore entering a contract year, many assumed he would be dealt this offseason.
Instead, Gilmore reported for training camp and started working his way back from a quad injury that limited him the previous season. He also wanted a new contract, but the Patriots weren’t willing to meet his asking price. When rosters were finalized for the 2021 season, Gilmore opened on the PUP list and rumors surfaced that he might be traded.
According to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, Gilmore’s name did come up in trade circles before he was ruled out for the first six games of the season. But while it did come up in conversations, the Patriots have reportedly never come close to trading him and there wasn’t as much interest in August compared to last season.
- Stephon Gilmore contract: $7 million base salary, $3.6 million roster bonus in 2021
It’s not a huge surprise that NFL teams are cautious about acquiring him. Belichick likely hasn’t lowered the price significantly and there are far more risks for anyone who acquires Gilmore.
Not only would the acquiring club need to give up a high draft pick for him, but it would also cost significant money. Gilmore wants a contract that reflects his talent and puts him on par with his peers across the league. That means a deal worth at least $18 million per season, a huge long-term cost for a player who hasn’t been healthy since 2019.
Ultimately, Gilmore will likely suit up for the Patriots again. New England will want to see if he is still an integral piece of their secondary who brings more value than a future draft pick and rival clubs are waiting to see if he can return to form.