Patriots' Bill Belichick Says He's Unaware of Stephon Gilmore Trade Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2020

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore warms up before an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

This might not come as a surprise, but New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick offered little insight to reporters when asked of trade rumors surrounding star cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

"Yeah, I don't know anything about those," Belichick said Wednesday, per Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.

The MMQB's Albert Breer reported in a September interview on NBC Sports Boston the Patriots "floated [Gilmore's] name in trade talks" around the 2020 draft and training camp:

Patriots on NBCSB @NBCSPatriots

The Patriots explored a Stephon Gilmore trade "on at least two separate occasions" this offseason, @AlbertBreer reports 👀 Details: https://t.co/tY2KKy1BR1 https://t.co/yG8qxsdYZQ

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said on WEEI's Greg Hill Show that New England had heard from other teams interested in acquiring the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year in March. Rapoport added that he hadn't heard of any new developments in recent months, though.

Belichick is nothing if not pragmatic. This is a coach who was content to move on from perhaps the greatest quarterback in NFL history once it looked like Tom Brady was unable to overcome Father Time.

Gilmore was an All-Pro in 2018 and 2019, helping the Patriots become one of the NFL's most dominant teams on defense. Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson ranked him as the 76th-best player overall of the last decade.

Gilmore also turned 30 in September and has one more year left on his five-year, $65 million contract. Either now or next offseason would be a good time to trade him if Belichick had reservations about offering him a long-term extension.

New England is also in a position where it might want to start looking toward the future as well.

The team is 2-4 through six games, so a 12th straight AFC East title probably isn't happening. Becoming a contender in general will be tough without a true successor to Brady. Cam Newton has fallen back to earth after an encouraging start, and Jarrett Stidham's underwhelming offseason raised questions about his long-term fit.

Flipping Gilmore for a valuable draft pick or two might accelerate the Patriots' plans to be a Super Bowl threat again.

Regardless of what New England has planned, don't expect Belichick to tip his hand either way.