The first regular-season week of the 2021 NFL season is behind us, and Stephon Gilmore remains without a new contract.
The New England Patriots star cornerback is recovering from a quad injury, but that coincided with a holdout of sorts as he seeks a new deal. Gilmore is only set to make $7 million this season, well below his market value, and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Another legendary Patriots corner, Ty Law, thinks Bill Belichick needs to swallow his pride and pay Gilmore.
“He is one of the guys that really deserves to get paid and be paid what he’s worth,” Law said on WEEI. “You can’t find guys to go out there and say, ‘OK, you got ’em.’ That is very rare.”
Law added: “How much more leverage are you going to have when you’re the (Defensive Player of the Year)? First of all, as a corner to get Defensive Player of the Year, he’s earned it. It was at the end of his first contract. So, yes, I want to get a new contract. Am I going to risk going out there not getting paid, because it’s probably going to be his last one? … This is definitely going to be his last contract.”
It wouldn’t be the first time Belichick shelled out for Gilmore, as the whopper of a contract he gave the defensive back in 2017 was an uncharacteristically large expense. Ultimately though, it is one that paid off.
Gilmore is beginning this season on the PUP list, so he won’t be available until Week 7 at the earliest. That has led some to think he’ll be more amenable to playing on his current deal because he would be making $7 million for basically half a season. It’s also possible the Patriots consider trading Gilmore once he’s healthy.
Time will tell, though, and a resolution doesn’t seem to be imminent.