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Stephon Gilmore Expected to Make Panthers Debut in Week 7, GM Scott Fitterer Says

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVOctober 7, 2021

Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers acquired Stephon Gilmore from the New England Patriots for a 2023 sixth-round pick on Wednesday, and general manager Scott Fitterer told reporters he expects the veteran cornerback to be available for Week 7 against the New York Giants. 

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Panthers’ GM Scott Fitterer told reporters that he expects CB Stephon Gilmore to come off PUP after week 6 and be ready to play Week 7 vs. the Giants.

Gilmore hasn't played this season for the Patriots as he recovers from a quad injury. 

The 31-year-old is the second cornerback the Panthers have traded for in the past two weeks, also acquiring former first-round pick C.J. Henderson and a fifth-rounder from the Jacksonville Jaguars for tight end Dan Arnold and a third-round selection in late September. 

Both deals appear to be in response to 2021 first-round cornerback Jaycee Horn breaking his foot. 

Darin Gantt @daringantt

DaQuan Jones: "Everyone in this building believes we can win now.”<br><br>Added that that was true before the trade for Gilmore as well.

Joe Person @josephperson

Donte Jackson on Stephon Gilmore: "That's pretty dope, man." Calls it a big, big boost for the Panthers' secondary.

Joe Person @josephperson

Matt Rhule calls Stephon Gilmore "a tremendous professional" and "All Pro-caliber" player.

Gilmore is far and away the more established player of the two. The four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro selection won a title with the Patriots and was the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year. On a New England defense that was excellent in recent seasons, he was a standout. 

Ryan Hannable @RyanHannable

Josh Uche on Stephon Gilmore: "Steph is a great player, even better person. ... Just a great guy to have around. Definitely going to miss him."

But with the Patriots looking to shed salary to sign veteran linebacker Jamie Collins—and Gilmore already unhappy with his current deal and talks between the sides not leading to a restructured deal, per ESPN's Mike Reiss—trading or releasing the injured Gilmore ultimately made sense for the Pats, who freed up about $5.8 million in cap space in the process. 

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The Panthers, meanwhile, have started 3-1 and have clear playoff aspirations for this season. The defense has been mostly solid, giving up just 251.5 yards and 16.5 points per game, both third best in the NFL. Once Gilmore is cleared to play, he should only bolster what has already been an impressive unit.  

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