BOSTON (CBS) — Stephon Gilmore was the best defensive player in the NFL in 2019. But he wasn’t paid like it. The Patriots are helping to adjust that discrepancy a bit before the 2020 season begins.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday that the Patriots are giving Gilmore a pay raise for 2020, bumping up his salary from $10.5 million to $15 million. Schefter noted that incentives could push the pay up to $17.5 million.
Patriots gave reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore a significant raise for this season today, bumping his salary from $10.5 million to $15.5M with chance to earn up to $17.5M in incentives even as he has two years left on his contract, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 11, 2020
Gilmore signed with the Patriots as a free agent in 2017, which at the time was a significant investment in the cornerback.
Since then, though, the 29-year-old Gilmore has outperformed what was a large contract. He’s been named a First Team All-Pro in each of the last two years, during which he’s also been named a Pro Bowler twice. He became the first defensive back to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award since 2010 and the first cornerback to win it since 2009.
Gilmore’s $10.5 million salary for 2020 stood out like a sore thumb after cornerback Jalen Ramsey inked a deal with the Rams that would pay him an average of $21 million over five years, with over $71 million guaranteed. Tre’Davious White also got a four-year, $69 million contract from the Bills, Gilmore’s old team, this week. Byron Jones got a five-year, $82 million deal this offseason as well.
The cornerback market has clearly changed since Gilmore signed his deal three years ago, and the Patriots are rewarding him financially for having outperformed the high expectations thrust upon him when he signed that contract.