Could Stephon Gilmore remain in New England after all?
The New England Patriots All-Pro cornerback found himself in extensive trade rumors, both ahead of the 2020 NFL Trade Deadline and during the early part of the offseason, but those have quieted down since the new league year has started.
The decline in Gilmore trade chatter comes right around the time the Patriots went out and improved their roster by leaps and bounds with free-agency spending. It certainly has the feeling the team went into win-now mode rather quickly after a disappointing 7-9 campaign.
Gilmore remaining in New England would help the team, and perhaps Patriots owner Robert Kraft knows it.
“Look, we’re lucky to have Stephon Gilmore. He’s a tremendous player for us, a great person,” Kraft told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.
“I personally had the opportunity to go to the Holy Land (2019 trip to Israel) with (Gilmore) and his bride. He’s just so gifted,” Kraft continued. “He’s under contract for us, with us, and we’ll see what happens.”
Now obviously, and as noted by Kraft himself while addressing the free-agency splurge, he’s not the one who’s going to make the final call when it comes to Gilmore. That’s part of the reason we need to take this for what it’s worth and not react like it came right from head coach and general manager Bill Belichick.
However, it is nonetheless an optimistic sign the owner acknowledged Gilmore’s presence and benefit. It’s also a positive that it comes after reports surfaced that Gilmore is “very open” to remaining in New England.
Gilmore, you may recall, is set to enter the final year of his contract and is owed a modest base salary of $7 million. The Patriots gave the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year a raise prior to the 2020 season, and it would likely take a contract extension or at the very least another pay bump for Gilmore to play in New England in 2021.
Gilmore was one of the many topics of conversation during Kraft’s call with reporters while the owner touched on the importance of finding a quarterback, the team’s past draft struggles, whether he regrets letting Tom Brady depart for Tampa Bay and more.