While the New England Patriots were delighted to have Cam Newton present at mandatory minicamp following a brief spell on the shelf with a hand injury, the same could not be said for Stephon Gilmore, who has decided to hold out amid his contract dilemma.
The Patriots faced a similar situation with Gilmore last offseason, but ultimately resolved at training camp borrowing some of his 2021 salary.
However, that helped create this problem, and the perennial lockdown cornerback is now slated to earn a measly $7 million this year.
Though New England seemingly has every intention of keeping Gilmore — that still doesn’t absolve them from delaying the process for as long as they have — they could run the risk of losing him if they fail to pay him like a top-tier corner.
With that in mind, you can all but rule out Gilmore showing up for minicamp, which ends on Wednesday, and it remains to be seen how long he plans on holding out.
In light of this controversy, one NFL star has taken the initiative of recruiting Gilmore to join a legitimate championship contender. The player is Rams corner Jalen Ramsey and he took to Instagram on Monday to attempt to steal Gilmore from the Patriots
Jalen Ramsey is recruiting Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore to the Rams.
Despite losing the likes of safety John Johnson and cornerback Troy Hill to free agency this offseason, the Rams still flaunt one of the league’s best secondaries. After all, Ramsey and Darious Williams form one of the most daunting CB pairings out there, and the idea of playing alongside them could resonate with Gilmore.
As if Ramsey didn’t already do enough to toy with New England natives’ hearts by recruiting Gilmore to the Rams, the $100 million CB brought up former Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts leaving Boston to join the Dodgers via trade last offseason only to win a championship in his first year on the west coast.
While the NFL has a lot more parity than MLB did last year (the Dodgers were the preseason favorites and never really looked like they weren’t going to win it all), who’s to say that Gilmore would pass on the opportunity to pursue a ring with a franchise that’s actually willing to pay him what he’s worth in the current market?
And for any Patriots fans claiming the Rams don’t have the requisite assets or cap space (they have roughly $7.69 million left), Gilmore likely wouldn’t cost more than a second- and late-round draft pick and LA would only absorb his $7 million salary, not his full $16.3 million cap hit.
That proves a Gilmore trade is feasible, which should terrify Patriots fans. Let’s hope New England’s front office doesn’t let it reach that point, though.