New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore reportedly doesn't expect a trade based on the team's other roster moves during the 2021 NFL offseason.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Thursday on SportsCenter that Gilmore, who skipped the Pats' mandatory minicamp in June as part of a contract holdout, and the front office may pick up talks about a new deal ahead of training camp in late July:
"The Patriots and Gilmore know they can intensify contract talks sometime in the next few weeks. 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. 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 is heading into the final season of a five-year, $65 million contract, but the structure of the pact puts him in line to earn $7.7 million for 2021, which is the lowest figure of the deal, per Spotrac.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wasn't surprised when the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year didn't show up for minicamp last month.
"I don't expect him to be here," Belichick said. "We'll just focus on the guys that are here."
On Tuesday, Gilmore posted and then deleted a message on Twitter referencing himself not being listed among the highest-paid defensive backs heading into 2021:
Although the 30-year-old South Carolina native has been one of the league's best corners since the Buffalo Bills selected him in the first round of the 2012 draft, the contract negotiations come at a difficult time.
Gilmore finished last season on injured reserve after suffering a partially torn quadriceps in December, and he didn't play up to his usual All-Pro standard even when healthy, receiving a lackluster 61 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. He finished with 37 total tackles and just one interception in 11 games.
So the question for the Pats is whether they're comfortable agreeing to a lucrative long-term extension based on his performance before 2020. But there's certainly added risk involved stemming from last year, which could make a shorter deal the best route for both sides.
New England opens training camp July 27, so that's the key date in determining whether the sides can come to an agreement or if a more extended holdout may be on the horizon. If it's the latter, a trade may become a larger possibility.
The Patriots open the preseason Aug. 12 against the Washington Football Team and take on the Miami Dolphins to kick off the regular season Sept. 12.