Leave it to the Patriots to chop a former Defensive Player of the Year in the course of the season.
Stephon Gilmore’s time in New England has come to an finish. Bill Belichick and the Patriots are parting methods with Gilmore, and it is reported that they are going to release him on Wednesday.
Gilmore was a power throughout his 4 seasons with the Patriots and loved an All-Pro marketing campaign in 2019. He totaled 11 interceptions, 52 move defenses, three compelled fumbles and 161 tackles throughout that span. He additionally had a key interception within the Patriots’ Super Bowl 53 win over the Rams and a move breakup within the ultimate seconds of New England’s 24-20 win over the Jaguars within the 2017 AFC Championship Game.
Now, Gilmore will play elsewhere, and there must be no scarcity of curiosity in him on the free-agent market. There are a number of contenders which can be missing cornerback depth proper now and others might use yet one more strong starter on the skin to bolster their Super Bowl possibilities.
Gilmore will not come low cost, so these groups might should carry out some cap gymnastics to suit him in. That stated, the NFL’s wage cap could be versatile, so any group that has an opportunity to land Gilmore will discover a technique to clear some area.
Here’s a have a look at a few of Gilmore’s prime landing spots, beginning with the obvious choice.
The Buccaneers are the reigning Super Bowl champions, however they’ve one downside with their group because it’s at present constructed. Their secondary is shallow and banged-up at cornerback.
Right now, three of the Bucs’ prime 4 cornerbacks — Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis — are coping with accidents. Tampa Bay signed Richard Sherman so as to add depth and veteran presence to the unit, and he proved rusty in opposition to the Patriots on Sunday night time. Sherman was focused eight occasions in his Buccaneers debut and rookie Mac Jones accomplished all eight passes in opposition to him and logged a passer ranking of 117.7 when concentrating on Sherman. He allowed 12.3 yards per reception. The Bucs are permitting a league-high 327.5 passing yards per recreation.
Gilmore would give the Buccaneers a confirmed, No. 1 cornerback to pair with Sherman whereas the group waits for his or her three youthful corners to return to motion. Once they’re all again, the group may have higher depth and extra expertise than they beforehand had.
Oh yeah, Gilmore additionally has a connection to Tom Brady, as the 2 have been teammates for 3 seasons. If he makes a free-agent pitch to Gilmore, that might persuade him to go to Tampa Bay and proceed the “Patriots South” pipeline.
Here’s one other NFL group with obtrusive cornerback points. The 49ers have misplaced Jason Verrett for the season and in addition noticed Josh Norman and K’Waun Williams get damage in current weeks. That has left Emmanuel Moseley and Deommodore Lenoir as the 2 major cornerbacks.
San Francisco has signed veterans like Norman, Dre Kirkpatrick and Buster Skrine in current weeks. Why would not they offer Gilmore a shot if he is prepared to return to the group?
If Gilmore is in search of a simple path to begin, the 49ers are one in every of his best choices. That stated, the 49ers sit at simply 2-2 and play in one of many NFL’s hardest divisions, so he must determine if he believes they will contend for a playoff spot.
The Chiefs’ protection has performed surprisingly poorly to this point this season. They are permitting 437.8 yards per recreation, which is nice for the second-most within the NFL, and so they rank bottom-six in opposition to the move.
Gilmore would give the group a confirmed, No. 1 choice on the skin. He would enable L’Jarius Snead to settle into a task because the No. 2 cornerback with gamers like Mike Hughes, Charvarius Ward and DeAndre Baker rotating in versus enjoying the No. 2 nook and nickel roles as a committee.
Signing Gilmore would repair at the very least one in every of Kansas City’s issues on protection. Then, they might shift their focus towards discovering some assist in opposition to the run.
The Panthers are a sneaky-good match for Gilmore. They misplaced rookie Jaycee Horn to a foot damage, and whereas they acquired C.J. Henderson from the Jaguars to assist fill the void, Gilmore might exchange Horn because the group’s prime nook and might additionally mentor Horn in the event that they signal him longer-term.
Gilmore is from Rock Hill, S.C. and performed collegiately at South Carolina. The Panthers are 3-1 and have one of many NFL’s best defenses, and including Gilmore to it as a short-term alternative for Horn and eventual complement, might work nicely.
The Panthers even have greater than $19 million in efficient cap area, per OverTheCap.com. So, they’re one group that may afford to signal him with out making too many different roster strikes or contract restructures.
Trevon Diggs is a fast-rising famous person at cornerback. He has already logged 5 interceptions by way of 4 video games this season. That will in all probability lead groups to throw away from him transferring ahead.
Teams could be much less doubtless to try this with Gilmore within the fold. He might assist shut down the opposite aspect of the sphere and make Dan Quinn’s protection into a robust one.
And take this for what it is price, however Tad Prescott, brother of Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, tweeted that Gilmore stated he needed to be a Cowboy 4 years in the past.
The Patriots releasing Stephon Gilmore. He instructed me 4 yrs in the past he needed to be a Cowboy. He and Diggs on the sphere collectively?
— Tad Prescott (@86Prescott) October 6, 2021
Again, we’ll take that with a grain of salt, however Gilmore’s sturdy match with the 3-1 Cowboys can’t be denied.
The Cardinals are the NFL’s lone remaining unbeaten group, and so they might use some further assist at cornerback. The group signed one other former Patriot, Malcolm Butler, in the course of the 2021 NFL offseason, however he retired on eve of the season. That left them a bit skinny at cornerback.
Adding Gilmore wouldn’t solely give the group depth, however it might give them a robust starter throughout from Byron Murphy. That would enable Robert Alford to settle into extra of a nickel position with rookie Marco Wilson function the group’s fourth nook.
Arizona had success when it traded for former Patriots’ first-round decide Chandler Jones; he continues to be a terrific move rusher. Perhaps Gilmore will present the same improve for them within the secondary.
NFL POWER RANKINGS: Cardinals fly to the top of the list
The Seahawks protection ranks dead-last within the NFL in yards allowed per recreation. They are permitting 444.5 yards per recreation and are a bottom-five move protection.
Seattle as soon as was dwelling to the Legion of Boom, however now, their cornerback room is skinny exterior of D.J. Reed, as each Tre Flowers and Ugo Amadi rank 83rd or decrease amongst Pro Football Focus’ 108 graded cornerbacks. Amadi truly ranks 106th general, so discovering an improve over him could be preferable.
Adding Gilmore to play throughout from Reed would assist the Seahawks’ protection tremendously in protection. They have $11 million in cap area, per OverTheCap.com.
The Packers look like making a pitch to Gilmore already. Davante Adams had a easy message to the nook on Instagram: “Call me.”
Adding a cornerback would make sense for the Packers. Rookie Eric Stokes has performed nicely throughout from Jaire Alexander, however Alexander suffered a shoulder damage in opposition to the Steelers. His standing is questionable. Behind Alexander, the Packers have Chandon Sullivan and Kevin King; neither is a perfect exterior starter.
Gilmore would be capable to both exchange Alexander whereas he is out or play throughout from Stokes and kick him inside to the slot. Either approach, he’d add depth and flexibility to the Packers’ cornerback room as they attempt to make one final postseason push with Aaron Rodgers.