The New England Patriots fattened Stephon Gilmore’s wallet Friday, handing the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year a significant salary increase.
Gilmore, who signed a five-year, $65 million contract with the Patriots in 2017, had been set to earn $10.5 million in salary this season. Two days before its season opener against the Miami Dolphins, New England bumped that number up to $15.5 million, according to multiple reports.
The All-Pro cornerback reportedly can earn an additional $2 million through incentives.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report news of Gilmore’s pay bump.
Gilmore’s raise came two days after Jalen Ramsey signed a five-year, $105 million extension with the Los Angeles Rams that made him the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback. Buffalo corner Tre’Davious White also landed a big-money extension last week, netting $70 million over four years from the Bills.
In the three years since he joined the Patriots, Gilmore had become underpaid in relation to many of the league’s other top cover men.
His expected $10.5 million salary for 2020 was the second-highest of any Patriots player behind guard Joe Thuney (who is playing on the franchise tag), but his average annual value ranked 12th among NFL cornerbacks behind Ramsey, White, Darius Slay, Byron Jones, Xavien Howard, James Bradberry, Patrick Peterson, Trae Waynes, Marcus Peters, A.J. Bouye and Kyle Fuller.
Given the Patriots’ wealth of salary-cap space following their slew of player opt-outs, rewarding their best player with some extra dough was a wise move.
Gilmore, who’ll turn 30 next week, led the NFL in passes defended last season (20) and tied White and Minnesota Vikings safety Anthony Harris for the league lead in interceptions (six). His contract is set to expire after the 2021 season.
The Patriots will open their regular-season schedule Sunday against the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Gilmore was limited in practice Thursday due to a hamstring injury.