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Patriots: Stephon Gilmore is rehabbing, but still unhappy about his contract

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore has not been practicing with the team throughout training camp thus far. However, the No. 1 corner is rehabbing and doing his part in the film room to help some of his younger teammates understand the Patriots’ intelligent defensive system.

Although there is a minor contract dispute between Gilmore and the Patriots, it is true that he is in fact rehabbing from his torn quad injury that required season ending surgery in December. To which, he’s been seen running and stretching down in the lower field on his own while the team practices up top. 

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore is progressing in the right direction regarding his health, however, he is still very unhappy about his current contract situation.

Mike Lombardi, Patriots cornerbacks coach, was asked about the status of Gilmore and when he’ll be ready to join the team. He is currently on the physically unable to perform list. 

“Love Steph, great guy. Right now, he’s ‘Coach Steph.’ He’s working the other part of his game. Working off the field, trying to get better, he’s rehabbing. He’s getting there. Taking it one day at a time, but in the meantime, he always helps the younger guys. He’s doing his part, being a good teammate. He’s been great in the room.” – Mike Lombardi, via Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald

The former Defensive Player of the Year from two years ago, did speak to some of the media and shared how he’s been feeling since being back on the field. 

“I feel stronger than I’ve ever felt since the surgery. I’ve been running a lot, building full speed.” – Stephon Gilmore, via Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald

He was asked about where things stand in regards to his contract situation. Which Gilmore answered quite fairly and honestly. 

“Hopefully, we can find some common ground and get it situated. I just know what I bring to the table and my style of play. Right now, I’m just trying to focus on myself and make sure I’m good mentally and physically.” – Stephon Gilmore, via Kevin Patra of Around the NFL

Although he is rehabbing, Gilmore is still very unhappy with his current contract situation. Gilmore will be making $7 million this year. Which is much below market value for a player of Gilmore’s caliber. But he has to understand that he signed a five-year contract in 2017 and the Patriots did him a favor by giving him a $5 million raise last season because of the way he was acting. 

Despite Gilmore being deserving of a new contract or pay increase, he signed a $65 million contract four years ago. Which at the time was one of the largest contracts for a cornerback in the entire league. However, just because the market has changed doesn’t mean the Patriots have to adjust his contract accordingly. It doesn’t work that way and it’s appearing that Gilmore thinks otherwise. 

The Patriots are a much better team when Gilmore is on the field. There is a lingering theory that the Pats are a little apprehensive to re-sign Gilmore following his season ending surgery. It’s fair for the Patriots to want to evaluate Gilmore before hitching their wagon to extending him long term. 

Long time New England Patriots safety and team captain, Devin McCourty, did not hold back when he was asked about his good friend and teammate, Gilmore. 

“It was good seeing my guy again. Like I’ve always said, he’s one of the best corners in this league. He’s been the best guy for the last couple of years —  obviously defensive MVP. And he’s really made this defense operate at a different level when he’s out there. So anytime I get an opportunity to be out there on the field with him, it gives us a better chance to win. Makes us a better defense. So it is great having him here in the locker room and on this team.” –  Devin McCourty, vis CBS Boston

It would be great for the New England Patriots and Gilmore to come to an agreement on a contract extension. As McCourty said, Gilmore is the best cornerback in the NFL. The appeal between both sides is evident. However, it’s fair for the Patriots to want to see where he is physically before inking him to another contract. Hopefully this debate won’t carry on into the season and cause a bigger distraction. 

-Justin Trombino (@Trombino20 on Twitter)

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