The New England Patriots are parting ways with star cornerback and former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore after sides couldn’t agree on a long-term contract. ESPN was first to report the news.
Initially it was reported that Gilmore would be released but later in the afternoon the Patriots were able to work out a trade, sending Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 6th round pick.
Gilmore had been on the PUP list nursing a quad injury he suffered late last season. He was eligible to come off the PUP after week 6.
Gilmore has also been seeking a contract extension which the Patriots were apparently unwilling to give him. New England also reportedly tried trading Gilmore but apparently couldn’t get anything for the corner in the trade market.
Sports Illustrated NFL writer Albert Breer reported that the Patriots in fact tried to get Gilmore to take a pay cut rather than extend him. When the corner refused, the Patriots decided to cut him outright.
Ex-Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore’s quad is healthy, I’m told. He still needs to get into football shape—he hasn’t practiced since late last season—but he should be ready to play soon.
A rarity now: An All-Pro corner available in October.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 6, 2021
Gilmore was set to be paid just over $7 million in base salary this season after the Patriots shifted money around to add $4.5 million to his salary last year during training camp to appease the corner. That cash figure ranks 24th among all corners in 2021.
The Patriots were only about $54,000 under the salary cap space before cutting Gilmore but now find themselves with an additional $5.8 million after the move.
In his own statement, the star defensive back acknowledged “mixed emotions” as he said goodbye to the New England fanbase, the Patriots organization and his teammates.
— The Gilly Lock (@BumpNrunGilm0re) October 6, 2021
Patriots players reacted to the news during their morning press availabilities in Foxboro. Among them, Kyle Van Noy who referred to Gilmore as “one of his best friends” and said he had hoped to play with him this season.
“Obviously I was looking forward to it, and (it) didn’t work out,” Van Noy said. “And knowing him, he’s arguably — to me he’s the best corner in the NFL , as well as Xaiven [Howard] because that’s my guy — disappointed, but he’s going to bounce back. He’s elite at what he does, and I’m looking forward to supporting him wherever he goes and plays high level football like always.”