The New England Patriots have addressed nearly all of their immediate roster needs this offseason, but they still have a decision to make on top cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Gilmore is due to earn just $7 million in salary this season — well below market value for a corner of his caliber — after the Patriots borrowed from his 2021 paycheck to give him a $4.5 million raise last September. The 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year likely won’t be willing to play for that value, meaning the Patriots will need to either extend or trade him this offseason.
Whether Gilmore and the Patriots can agree on the terms of a potential extension remains to be seen, but the 31-year-old reportedly is interested in staying put.
Albert Breer of The MMQB reported Monday that Gilmore, who is entering the final year of his current contract, “would be very open to signing a new deal in New England.”
“If the Patriots think Gilmore has, say, three more good years left in him (and they know better than anyone else how the 30-year-old has taken care of his body) and they don?t want to pay promising young corner J.C. Jackson like a premier DB, you can certainly see where it?d make sense,” Breer wrote in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” column.
The Patriots undoubtedly are a better team with Gilmore on the field, and they suddenly look like potential contenders in the AFC after overhauling their depleted roster through free agency and trades. And, as Breer noted, the torn quad that ended Gilmore’s season in December might scare off potential suitors, though the cornerback reportedly is expected to be ready in time for training camp.
New England recently placed a second-round restricted free agent tender on Jackson, their No. 2 cornerback, but still could lose him if another team signs him to an offer sheet and the Patriots decline to match. No. 3 corner Jason McCourty remains an unrestricted free agent.