The New England Patriots were reportedly "never" close to trading Stephon Gilmore despite consistent rumors to the contrary.
Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported teams were hesitant to give up a high draft pick for an aging cornerback in the final year of his contract, whereas the Patriots refused to sell low on the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year.
Gilmore is coming off a disappointing 2020 campaign in which he recorded 37 tackles and one interception while being limited to 11 games after testing positive for COVID-19 and suffering a partially torn quad. He opened this season on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from the same injury that cost him time in 2020.
The Patriots are paying Gilmore a $7 million base salary this season, a number that is well below what he would make on the open market—even if he's in the post-prime part of his career.
Gilmore will be playing for his next contract once he gets on the field this season, a number that could vary based on how he performs. If he's back in 2019 form, odds are the Patriots will use their franchise tag so they can negotiate a long-term deal that potentially keeps him in New England for the rest of his career. If he struggles or continues battling injury, he'll be two years removed from his peak performance and likely staring at a cold open market.