A stunner: New England Patriots to release CB Stephon Gilmore

Stephon Gilmore

The New England Patriots have parted ways with star corner Stephon Gilmore after the two sides could not agree on a long-term contract. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport has reported that the Pats are releasing Gilmore, according to sources informed of the situation.

Gilmore then said goodbye to New England.

Gilmore has updated her status on Twitter

Patriots to release Stephon Gilmore

In his own statement, the star defensive back admitted “mixed emotions” as he said goodbye to the New England fan base, the Patriots organization, and his teammates:

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce goodbye to this great fan base. We enjoyed so much success together and you have been an incredible inspiration for my individual achievements. Thank you for supporting this Rock Hill kid and allowing him to achieve his NFL dreams,” he continued.

“To Mr. Kraft, the coaches, and the organization thank you for providing me with this platform and allowing me to be part of greatness. Most of all I want to thank my teammates who lined up next to me every Sunday with one goal in mind. Those moments on and off the field will never be forgotten.”

Patriots release All-Pro CB Stephon Gilmore 

It’s a stunning move by the Patriots, who can’t seem to get anything for the corner of the commercial market. Rapoport noted that health is a concern for teams considering trade for Stephon Gilmore. There’s still a chance a trade could happen in the coming hours before the 4 pm ET transaction deadline – but given his contract’s wishes, that looks unlikely at this point.

Prior to that, the former Defensive Player of the Year had faced a quadriplegia injury that led to offseason surgery and put him on the PUP roster to open the season. Rapoport reported that the Pats were willing to give Gilmore a pay raise during the off-season but want to see him healthy first.

Stephon Gilmore sits out of training camp and shortlisted PUP seen as an attempt to land a new contract after the Pats raised some of his 2021 paychecks in 2020 to assuage concerns about his contract last year.

Apparently, the tension hasn’t dissipated yet.

Gilmore’s contract called for just over $7 million in base salary this season after the Patriots moved up $4.5 million last year during training camp to appease the corner. That cash figure ranks 24th among all corners in 2021, per Over The Cap.

Stephon Gilmore

Market expected to be robust for former All-Pro cornerback

The South Carolina native and former Gamecocks star was picked up by the Bills with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent 4 seasons with the team before signing with rival Patriots as a free agent.

Gilmore’s decorated career includes being recognized as the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, two-time First-Team All-Pro champion, four-time Pro Bowl selection, and Super Bowl LVIII champion.

He played in 11 games last season, recording 37 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble, and three pass deflections.

So, even at 31, coming off injury, Stephon Gilmore should have no shortage of suitors for Gilmore should he prove healthy. Rapoport reported Gilmore is basically healthy — underscoring that his absence has always been more about the contract than injury.

Stephon Gilmore, meanwhile, can now sign with any team of his choice and start contributing immediately as his PUP designation with the Patriots no longer prohibits him from practicing after his release.

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