The New England Patriots have pushed aside any contract dispute with Stephon Gilmore -- for the next month at least. New England placed Gilmore on the Physically Unable To Perform list prior to the initial 53-man roster deadline (per ESPN's Adam Schefter) -- meaning the Pro Bowl cornerback is out for the first six weeks of the 2021 season. Gilmore won't be eligible to come off the PUP list until Week 7, giving him more time to recover from his injury and stalling any talk of a potential contract extension.
Gilmore has been on the PUP list the entire preseason, but the Patriots cornerback has been seeking a new contract. Gilmore has been classified as a "hold in," even though head coach Bill Belichick wouldn't give any leeway towards such.
"We'll just take a look at everything and continue to evaluate stuff day by day as we've done, as he's done, and work to get better," Belichick said Monday. "We have several players in a similar situation, and we'll get the most up-to-date information we can and try to make the best decision we can for our football team."
Gilmore and the Patriots have not made progress on reaching a new deal, despite the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year wanting a contract extension making him one of the highest paid cornerbacks in the game. Gilmore is entering the final year of his contract and his total cash value of $7.7 million is good for just 26th in the league amongst cornerbacks.
Despite playing just 11 games last year due to the season-ending quad injury, Gilmore still had a Pro Bowl season and was one of the better cover corners in the league. Opposing quarterbacks had just a 66.7 passer rating targeting Gilmore while completing 56.3% of their passes. Teams were still afraid to test Gilmore, targeting him just 48 times -- which explains why he only ended up with three passes defended on the year.
The Patriots planned for a corresponding move with Gilmore, acquiring cornerback Shaun Wade from the Baltimore Ravens last week. New England gave up a 2022 seventh-round pick and 2023 fifth-round pick for Wade, who will compete with Jalen Mills and Joejuan Williams for starting reps while Gilmore is out.
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