Stephon Gilmore Wants to Stay with Patriots, Says Future Is 'Out of My Control'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2021

New England Patriots' Stephon Gilmore during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

New England Patriots star Stephon Gilmore confirmed he "for sure" would like remain with the team for the 2021 NFL season but acknowledged the difficulty in predicting how his future will unfold this offseason.

"That stuff will play out as it will," Gilmore said to the Boston Globe's Ben Volin. "I just try to take it day-by-day, and that's all I can do. ... It's out of my control. I'm just happy to be a Patriot right now and see how it goes."

Gilmore isn't that far removed from being named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. He also ended the 2019 season with his second straight All-Pro nod.

However, The MMQB's Albert Breer reported last September the Patriots were already exploring the trade market for the veteran cornerback:

NBC Sports Boston @NBCSBoston

The Patriots explored a Stephon Gilmore trade "on at least two separate occasions" this offseason, @AlbertBreer reports 👀 Details: https://t.co/FCZaXD2UCj https://t.co/gVGoNOQtWi

Gilmore missed five games during the 2020 season, finishing with 34 tackles and one interception.

Now, the four-time Pro Bowler is entering the final year of his contract and carries a $16.2 million salary-cap hit for 2021. 

ESPN's Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler reported in March the 30-year-old was available to trade suitors but that his contract situation was possibly depressing the market. Teams reportedly were "also aware that anyone who trades for him likely will have to sign him to a new deal, which reduces the amount teams are willing to pay in a trade."

The Patriots could simply release Gilmore, a move that would save $8.6 million but carry $7.7 million in dead money. And those terms would be the same in the event he gets traded.

Per Over the Cap, New England handed out $171.5 million in guaranteed money this offseason, so it might be somewhat telling the front office hasn't extended Gilmore's contract. The franchise is looking to turn things around after winning games, but those plans don't appear to be committing long term to one of the best defensive backs on the roster.

Volin noted how the Patriots "usually don't give big contracts to players over 30," so the situation isn't too surprising.

Because of Gilmore's contract, New England may not have a ton of leverage, though, which could allow somebody else to get him at a relative bargain for at least one season.