NFL Rumors: How Bill Belichick Handled Stephon Gilmore Trade Dilemma

This story shouldn't get swept under the rug

There apparently were some tense moments between Stephon Gilmore and the New England Patriots during the offseason.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported over the weekend that the Patriots considered trading the All-Pro cornerback during the summer. Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard on Tuesday corroborated that report, while also adding additional context on the situation.

Gilmore reportedly wanted a raise (he got one just before the start of the season), putting Bill Belichick in a tricky spot.

From the latest episode of Boston Sports Journal’s “Patriots Podcast”:

“I don’t know the exact timing, the mechanisms, the threats — any of that stuff. But what I can tell you … in the offseason, Gilmore and his representation let it be known to the Patriots that he wanted a raise. Normally, when that happens, it does not go over well with Bill, and step No. 1 is: “Well, I’m gonna try to trade your ass.” And they did. They tried to trade him just like Deion Branch.

” … I thought it was crazy, some people brought it up at the time: When you look at it (salary) cap-wise, the Patriots actually would’ve saved about $3 million on the cap. But, once they couldn’t find any takers for Gilmore, Belichick was left with the decision, “Well, what do I do? Do I release him? And then do I risk him going to Kansas City? Baltimore? Houston? Buffalo?” … So, Belichick was left with a choice, basically, and I gotta tip my cap to Gilmore and his representation. They played hardball with the Patriots, they had their leverage — he was Defensive Player of the Year — they knew anybody would pick him up if the Patriots decided to release Gilmore. And, so, at the end of the day, Belichick had to swallow everything … and give him (the money). … Not many people go toe-to-toe with Belichick at the negotiation table and win.”

Gilmore had an uneven 2020 debut, committing a pair of defensive pass interference penalties while also giving up a couple big completions, though he did have an interception. Miami Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker, who normally plays well against Gilmore, was forced from Sunday’s game with an injury.

Whether Gilmore’s pay raise completely eliminates the possibility of a trade remains to be seen. However, his situation offers yet another reminder that there are no sacred cows in the Patriots locker room.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images