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Stephon Gilmore skipped New England Patriots minicamp in June over a contract stalemate with the team, renewing NFL trade rumors that surfaced during the 2020 NFL season.
It’s not the first time Gilmore became frustrated by his contract. Displeased about not being one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL last year, New England restructured the deal.
As part of the renegotiated contract, the Patriots moved up a portion of Gilmore’s 2021 salary into the 2020 season. Now, entering the final year of his deal, Gilmore wants a contract extension that properly reflects his value.
While it has sparked discussion about his future in New England, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on SportsCenter that both sides seem pretty confident a resolution will be reached.
“The Patriots and Gilmore know they can intensify contract talks sometime in the next few weeks. And I’m told that Gilmore has largely not expected to be traded throughout this process because he knows the Patriots have made moves with Gilmore in mind. They haven’t gotten a cornerback to replace him. And as one source told me, ‘Do the Patriots really want to go into Week 4 against Tom Brady without their top cornerback?’ And so things are slow right now, but I expect those sides to ramp up negotiations sometime before training camp.”ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler with latest on New England Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore
The Patriots do have enough time to work things out before a holdout even becomes a possibility. Players arrive for training campus on July 28, giving New England plenty of time to negotiate a long-term deal.
While Bill Belichick certainly can’t be pleased that he will need to reward Gilmore with a raise for the second consecutive year, there aren’t many alternatives.
NFL teams want Gilmore, confident he is capable of returning closer to the All-Pro form we saw during the 2019 season. But even when the Patriots shopped him around the league before the NFL trade deadline, when Gilmore was struggling through injuries, the cost was a first-round pick and a young player.
New England won’t find a club willing to pay that price, especially when that cost doesn’t include paying out a contract extension. Plus, based on the construction of the roster, the Patriots are closer to win-now mode than a total rebuild.
Ultimately, both sides should come to a resolution within the next month. It might only be a two-year extension, providing guarantees for Gilmore in the first year, but that will be worth it for the Patriots. If Stephon Gilmore is on the field in Week 1, New England boasts one of the best defenses in the NFL.