Will Stephon Gilmore still be with the New England Patriots when the 2021 season begins? That’s one of the biggest remaining questions facing Bill Belichick’s squad.
Gilmore, who is set to earn just $7 million in salary this season, addressed his current contractual situation Monday during an interview with The Boston Globe and WHDH at a Burlington, Mass., restaurant opening.
The 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year said he would like to remain in New England but that his future is “out of (his) control.”
From the Globe’s Ben Volin:
Gilmore isn’t making noise that he wants a new contract or wants out of New England. But playing in 2021 under his current contract doesn?t seem very likely. Speaking Monday, Gilmore said he “for sure” would like to stay with the Patriots, but also was noncommittal about his future.
“That stuff will play out as it will,” he said. “I just try to take it day by day, and that’s all I can do.“
How does he deal with the uncertainty?
“It’s out of my control,” he said. “I’m just happy to be a Patriot right now, and see how it goes.“
Does he think he deserves a new contract?
“You’ve got to leave it in their hands,” he said. “Of course, I know what type of player I am, what type of person I am. I let everything lay on its own.“
Does he expect to participate in voluntary offseason workouts?
“I’m taking it day by day, just working out, trying to stay in shape, and go from there,” he said.
Gilmore has been one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks for much of his Patriots tenure, earning three consecutive Pro Bowl selections on top of his 2019 DPOY nod. Injuries limited him to 11 games last season, including a partially torn quad that required surgery to repair.
Unless Gilmore decides he’s willing to play out his below-market contract, the Patriots likely will need to either extend or trade him this offseason. The team borrowed $5 million from Gilmore’s 2021 salary to give him a preseason raise last September.
Albert Breer of The MMQB reported last month that the 30-year-old Gilmore “would be very open to signing a new deal in New England.” Patriots owner Robert Kraft briefly commented on Gilmore’s status during a recent conference call with reporters.
“Look, we’re lucky to have Stephon Gilmore,” Kraft said. “He’s a tremendous player for us, a great person. … He’s under contract for us, with us, and we’ll see what happens.”
New England’s Nos. 2 and 3 corners also are facing uncertain futures. The Patriots placed a second-round restricted free agent tender on 2020 NFL interceptions runner-up J.C. Jackson, and versatile veteran Jason McCourty has yet to find a new home since hitting unrestricted free agency last month.