Stephon Gilmore's displeasure surrounding his contract was elevated to a new level this week. In the aftermath of New England's star corner holding out of mandatory minicamp, he took to social media to highlight a CBS Sports HQ post of the top-10 highest-paid corners throughout the NFL, a group he is currently not a part of. Gilmore is set to make just $7 million in base salary as he enters the final year of his five-year contract with the Patriots, which is well below market value for a player of his caliber, thus sparking the holdout in hopes of landing a new deal.
While going public on social media with any sort of in-house issue typically buys a Patriots player a one-way ticket out of Foxborough, Gilmore reportedly doesn't have much fear that Bill Belichick will move off him. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported on SportsCenter on Thursday that the corner "has largely not expected to be traded throughout this process because he knows the Patriots have made moves with Gilmore in mind."
A source reportedly also told Fowler, "Do the Patriots really want to go into Week 4 against Tom Brady without their top cornerback?"
Fowler adds that both sides know they can intensify talks over the next few weeks leading up to the start of training camp, which will be another key date to focus on. Certainly, both Gilmore and the Patriots would like this issue resolved before the start of camp, so they can solely focus on the upcoming season and rebound from the 7-9 campaign of 2020.
Gilmore is finishing up a five-year, $65 million contract he signed with New England back in 2017. To this point, that large investment has proven to be a solid move for both sides. Gilmore received a massive payday and the Patriots acquired a player that would blossom into a Defensive Player of the Year and would help them to a Super Bowl LIII title in 2018.
Meanwhile, one of the more under-the-radar aspects to this dispute between Gilmore and the Patriots is the corner's quad. He finished the season on injured reserve after suffering a partially torn quad in Week 15, which is an injury he's continued to rehab throughout the offseason. While Gilmore may feel confident that the Patriots won't trade him, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora previously reported this offseason that most GMs considered it a foregone conclusion that he would be moved at some point. That said, Albert Breer of the MMQB also reported back in March that this quad injury complicated any sort of trade talks.
If New England were to hang onto Gilmore and commit more money and/or years to his contract, they'd likely want to ensure that the quad is healing up nicely and he can continue to be the player he's been prior to the injury.
In 11 games played last year, Gilmore totaled three pass breakups, one interception, and 37 tackles. When targeted, he held opposing quarterbacks to just a 57.1 completion percentage and a passer rating of 75.7.