The New England Patriots trading Stephon Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers for a measly sixth-round pick caught most of the NFL landscape by significant surprise. Gilmore used to be considered the best corner in all of football (2019 Defensive Player of the Year). Now, he’s being traded for pennies on the dollar.
However, as more and more information is revealed regarding how Gilmore’s relationship deteriorated with the Patriots, it’s becoming increasingly clear why he was so abruptly shuttled out of town for nothing more than a Day 3 pick.
Stephon Gilmore blasted Patriots for mishandling his injury
With a Panthers-Patriots game looming in the distance, Gilmore offered clarity to a group of New England reporters regarding his final few months with the Patriots. His frustrations with the team date back to 2020, and according to Gilmore himself, one of the biggest reasons he became disgruntled is due to the organization’s handling of his torn quadriceps.
“I just didn’t like how they handled my situation, my injury. A lot went on with that I didn’t agree with,” Gilmore said.
“Now that I’m here [Carolina], I’m able to do the things I have to do to get me back ready to where I need to be. I learned a lot there. I have a lot of friends there. A lot of great coaches. I just didn’t like how they handled my situation with my injury.”
Gilmore first tore his quad in late December of 2020 and didn’t return to football-related action until arriving at Carolina here in 2021. When asked what the Patriots specifically did wrong in terms of his rehab, Gilmore declined to answer. However, it’s reasonable to assume the Patriots were rushing him back or forcing him to take off more time than needed.
Stephon Gilmore is also mad about how NE handled his contract
In addition to his injury-related frustration, Gilmore also mentioned that he and the Patriots failed to agree to a contract extension in 2020, despite being fresh off a DPOY-winning season.
“That’s a reason also, too,” Gilmore said. “But a lot goes on into it. It’s not just one specific thing. At the end of the day, it’s a business. They treat it like a business, and we made the best decision for each other…We had a conversation, and it was better for both of us to go in opposite directions, whether it was the contract or whatever.”
“It’s a business. You can’t really control things when you’re playing in the National Football League. You just have to go with it, and I did. God put me in this position, and I’m happy.”
Gilmore may be “happy” now, but that indeed wasn’t the case when he failed to pressure New England into a contract extension. Gilmore’s current yearly cash in 2021 is a measly $5.77 million — not even close to any of the top CB contracts in the NFL.
Should the Patriots regret how they handled this situation?
The Patriots are seemingly doing fine post-Gilmore trade (4-4 record on the season). However, it’s worth wondering whether they regret how they handled the whole ordeal.
Even coming off a torn quad, Gilmore is one of the better corners in the NFL. His presence would only help the Patriots’ defense.
The ultimate test for which party should be having second thoughts comes during Week 9, when Carolina and New England face each other. Gilmore picking off rookie QB Mac Jones would go a long way toward proving the Patriots should’ve done a better job keeping him happy.