In a surprising turn of events, the New England Patriots have decided to trade All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers.
According to multiple reports, the two sides decided to go their separate ways after failing to work out a contract restructure agreement. The Pats originally intended to release Gilmore but managed to work a trade with the Panthers that netted them a 2023 sixth-round draft pick instead.
Gilmore, who won the NFL Defensive Player of the year two years ago, is yet to play in 2021, having started the season on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing a quad surgery back in December. He was eligible to return to the Pats’ active roster in Week 6.
New England and Gilmore have been negotiating a new deal in recent months, with the 31-year-old player looking to bump up his salary. He sat out the offseason team activities in hopes to encourage the team to agree to his conditions, but the Pats remained unwilling to accept his terms.
The Patriots have yet to confirm the move although Gilmore himself already acknowledged he is no longer part of the franchise on his social media.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my goodbye to this great fanbase,” Gilmore wrote on Twitter addressing the New England fans. “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.”
Stephon Gilmore joined the New England Patriots as a free agent on a five-year, $65 million contract in 2017. During his time with the organization, Gilmore earned two First-team All-Pro honors and three Pro Bowl nods alongside his DPY award. He was also part of the team that won the Super Bowl LIII.
Gilmore is reportedly healthy and will attract a lot of interest on the free-agent market among other NFL teams. His career stats include 411 tackles, 114 pass deflections, 25 interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns.