Stephon Gilmore’s season reportedly is over — but he avoided the worst-case scenario.
The New England Patriots’ star cornerback suffered a partially torn quad during Sunday’s 22-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins and will undergo surgery Tuesday, according to a report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
But tests revealed “no structural damage” to Gilmore’s knee, per Rapoport’s report, and he’s expected to be “back to 100 percent long before next season.”
Whether Gilmore will be with the Patriots next season remains to be seen. He has one year remaining on his contract but is set to earn just $7 million in 2021 after the team borrowed from his future salary to give him a $5 million pay bump this past summer.
Gilmore, whose name was mentioned in trade rumors earlier this season, almost certainly will not be willing to play for that number given his pedigree as the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The Patriots likely will either need to sign him to a contract extension or trade him this offseason.
Versatile veteran Jason McCourty is the top candidate to replace Gilmore in New England’s starting lineup opposite J.C. Jackson. Second-year pro Joejuan Williams also could see his role expand.
The Patriots will close out their 2020 schedule with home games against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. They officially were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday.