The Patriots have traded Stephon Gilmore. Wait, what?
The #Panthers traded for Stephon Gilmore, sending a 2023 sixth-round pick to New England.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 6, 2021
Initially he was released, but then talks of him possibly still being traded popped up. And then a trade to the Panthers for a 6th round pick became official. But whether he was released, cut, traded or sent to the moon, that’s not the point of this article. Normally, losing a former DPOY would hurt a defense, but I’m not too sure that’s the case here. So that begs the questions, what’s the real fallout of Stephon Gilmore leaving the Patriots?
If I could make a long article short, I’d say…not much changes. But that’s no fun, right? So let’s dive in a bit more.
The Patriots have played 4 games so far this season. And they currently sit towards the top of the league in almost every meaningful defensive category when it comes to defending the pass. Going into this weekend, New England is 3rd in opponent completion percentage (56.5%), 4th in both yards per game (185) and yards on the season (740), 2nd in TD’s allowed (3), 5th in INT’s (5), 2nd in QB rating (67.6), 1st in Longest Play Allowed (36 yards) and 6th in points per game (17.5). Safe to say they’ve been pretty, pretty good so far.
Now, that’s not to say that Gilmore wouldn’t have improved this defense. Of course he would have. But let’s not act like there’s THAT much room for improvement to begin with. Jumping 2 or 3 spots in any given statistic isn’t going to make a world of difference. That’s why when I see all the tweets and comments lamenting the Pats for letting him go, it confuses me a bit. If you were criticizing the lack of return, I would’ve cautioned you to step back for a minute. Because the ink wasn’t dry on this move and, wouldn’t ya know, a trade ended up happening. But if you were chastising Belichick for strictly moving on from the player, I can’t go down that road with you.
Gilmore, while still a talented player, is 31. Historically speaking, when corners hit the age of 32, their play drops off. It’s almost becoming one of the few constants in the NFL. Save for a few elite players (Revis to name one), the corner position has an expiration date. And Gilly’s date is fast approaching. That’s not to say he won’t play well this season, but investing millions in an aging player isn’t good business. Especially if the reports of Gilmore wanting ~$15 mil per year are to be believed.
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) October 6, 2021
And if you look at it more from the financial side, this move makes a ton of sense for the Pats. With the trade of Gilmore, the Patriots saved millions. If you are ever curious as to any Patriots related cap situation, look to Miguel on Twitter. The man is a wizard and knows what he’s talking about. So I believe him when I see that the Pats just gained almost $6 mil in cap space.
By my quick accounting, the Patriots created $5,790,850 in cap space by releasing Stephon Gilmore. My new Patriots salary cap space number is $8,614,769 which is more than enough to operate for the rest of the season and extend a player like J.C. Jackson.
— Miguel Benzan Patriots Cap Space equals 6,214,769 (@patscap) October 6, 2021
The last part of this tweet is the most important. This move opens up space to sign Collins, extend Jackson (which needs to be done) or fill out the roster for the rest of the year. The Patriots needed to free up some roster space, and they found a way to do it. It just so happens the route they chose was to get rid of a former elite corner.
And let’s not pretend the writing wasn’t on the wall here either. Maybe not for a flat out release, but we all knew something was going to go down here. Gilmore wanted more money. The Patriots didn’t want to give it to him. Gilmore leaving the team was the most likely outcome. And like I mentioned, it’s not like the plays a position of need. When you add the play of the pass defense to the contract issue, it was the perfect time for Bill to move on.
What do we always say in New England? Belichick let’s go of players a year early as opposed to a year late? Seems that’s to be the case here.
(Featured Photo Credit www.patriotswire.usatoday.com)
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Mike Sullivan (@msully5433 on Twitter)