How strange is it to see an NFL postseason that does not feature the New England Patriots? This is the first year that’s happened since 2008 and just the second time since 2000.
It’s an odd experience for Patriots players, too.
Star cornerback Stephon Gilmore lamented New England’s failure to land a playoff spot while he watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints square off in the divisional round.
“Miss playoff football,” Gilmore tweeted Sunday night.
The Patriots went 7-9 this season, snapping a streak of 10 consecutive playoff appearances. They’ll look to return to their winning ways in 2021, but it remains to be seen whether Gilmore will stick around.
The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year has a year left on his Patriots contract, but his $7 million salary next season — well below market for a player of his caliber — makes him a potential trade candidate.
Wide receiver/kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson, who won a Super Bowl with New England in 2018, expressed a desire to reunite with the Pro Bowl cover man. Patterson is set to hit free agency in March.
Several New England players took to social media Sunday to voice their support for quarterback Tom Brady, who’s seeking his 10th Super Bowl appearance in his first season with the Buccaneers.