The Carolina Panthers clearly coveted Stephon Gilmore, but the same can’t be said for many other NFL teams.
The New England Patriots on Wednesday traded the star cornerback to the Panthers for a sixth-round draft pick in 2023. The deal was the final product of a long, bizarre stretch that saw trade speculation and rumors of contract disputes surround Gilmore and the Patriots.
And Gilmore, who has been out since tearing his quad late last season, apparently didn’t have many teams lining up to acquire his services.
“To me, I was surprised that more teams didn’t jump in and try and trade for him,” NFL Media’s Ian Rapoort said Thursday during a WEEI appearance, as transcribed by Ryan Hannable. “I am surprised it had to be the thing where you make clear that you’re moving on from him and then someone tries to trade for him before 4 p.m. I thought they would have had a better trade market. That was surprising.”
Rapoport added: “I talked to some of the teams who were evaluating (Wednesday) and they did not love the tape last year.”
Those teams had reasons to be concerned. Gilmore in 2020 was a far cry from the player who won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year Award the prior season. That he’s coming off a serious leg injury created additional reasons for hesitation.
Still, the Patriots are a worse team now than they were three days ago. The pressure is on the rest of the cornerbacks on the depth chart, especially J.C. Jackson, to take their games to higher levels.