BOSTON (CBS) — Stephon Gilmore doesn’t want to work in 2021 for a severely under-market salary. Yet despite his decision to skip out on mandatory minicamp, the veteran cornerback doesn’t believe the Patriots will trade him away to another team.
That’s according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, who said on SportsCenter on Thursday that the Patriots and Gilmore will use the next few weeks to “ramp up” discussions for a reworked deal.READ MORE: Red Sox Fall To 2nd Place In AL East With 9-5 Loss To Rays
“The Patriots and Gilmore know they can intensify contract talks sometime in the next few weeks,” Fowler said, per Bleacher Report. “And I’m told that Gilmore has largely not expected to be traded throughout this process because he knows the Patriots have made moves with Gilmore in mind. They haven’t gotten a cornerback to replace him.”
With the returns of Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy, as well as the addition of Matt Judon and some reinforcement at defensive tackle, the Patriots’ defense is shaping up to more resemble its 2019 form rather than its 2020 version. That is, however, slightly dependent on Gilmore lining up on the outside every snap. While J.C. Jackson shined in his third NFL season last year, his work during Gilmore’s absence might have shown that he’s not quite a No. 1 cornerback at this point in time.READ MORE: Revolution Defeat New York Red Bulls 3-2 For 4th Straight Win
So, Gilmore’s reasoning is surely logical. A team that spent nearly $160 million in guaranteed money in free agency clearly expects an improvement this year, and keeping Gilmore around would be helpful toward that goal.
Fowler added: “And as one source told me, ‘Do the Patriots really want to go into Week 4 against Tom Brady without their top cornerback?’ And so things are slow right now, but I expect those sides to ramp up negotiations sometime before training camp.”
Gilmore has made his contract displeasure known, first by skipping minicamp, then by sending a passive-aggressive tweet in reaction to a list of the highest paid defensive backs in the NFL on Tuesday. Throughout, all reporting has indicated that the disagreement is strictly business and that the situation is not acrimonious.MORE NEWS: Chris Sale Tosses 5 Strong Innings, Strikes Out 7 In Rehab Start With Worcester
The Patriots slid $5 million from Gilmore’s 2021 salary to his 2020 salary, effectively advancing him that cash to adjust his contract after he was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. He missed five games last season due to a midseason knee injury and a late-season quadriceps injury that required surgery.