"I'm also told, for what it's worth, that Gilmore would be very open to signing a new deal in New England," Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported.
Gilmore is set to make about $7 million for the upcoming season after previously restructuring his contract, but Breer noted it's "unlikely" he plays on that deal. It could leave New England with the choice to either sign him to a new extension or give him the opportunity to get more money elsewhere.
The 30-year-old suffered a torn quad at the end of last season, which held him to just 11 games and required surgery that could limit him in the offseason.
This could slow the trade market, especially when a team knows it must also agree on a new contract for the cornerback.
Gilmore is still an elite player when healthy, earning Pro Bowl bids in three of the past four seasons to go with two first-team All-Pro selections. He was the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 when he led the NFL with six interceptions and 20 passes defended.
The Patriots led the NFL in both points allowed and yards allowed in 2019.
Though the unit took a step back in 2020 (seventh in points allowed, 15th in yards allowed), Dont'a Hightower is set to return after opting out of the season, and the team also re-signed linebacker Kyle Van Noy to help recreate the past success. Free-agent additions like Matt Judon, Jalen Mills and Davon Godchaux should further boost the defense.
If Gilmore can stay with the team and return to full strength physically, New England could again have an elite defense in 2021.