The New England Patriots found a taker for Stephon Gilmore.
Hours after news broke that they planned to release Gilmore, the Patriots traded the star cornerback to the Carolina Panthers for a 2023 sixth-round draft pick.
The move represents a homecoming of sorts for Gilmore, a native of Rock Hill, S.C.
Since he was traded, not cut, Gilmore must remain on the physically unable to perform list and will be ineligible to play for the Panthers until Week 7. He’ll face his former team shortly thereafter, as the Patriots are scheduled to visit Carolina in Week 9.
The Panthers have been aggressive in bolstering their cornerback group since losing rookie top-10 pick Jaycee Horn to a broken foot in Week 3. Last week, they swung a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for C.J. Henderson, the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft.
In a statement Wednesday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick called Gilmore’s departure from New England a mutual decision.
“I am grateful to Stephon Gilmore for his significant contributions to our team,” the statement read. “It was a privilege and pleasure to coach Steph, I appreciate him for the true professional and class act that he is and wish him all the best in the future. Following discussions over a long period of time, we mutually agreed to part ways today.”
In his Wednesday news conference, Belichick expressed confidence in his current crop of cornerbacks, which is led by J.C. Jackson, Jalen Mills and Jonathan Jones.