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Patriots All-Pro CB Stephon Gilmore could be traded?

Sportsnaut logo Sportsnaut 10/26/2020 Matt Johnson, Sportsnaut
a person wearing a helmet: Will the New England Patriots trade cornerback Stephon Gilmore as there season continues to go south? © Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports Will the New England Patriots trade cornerback Stephon Gilmore as there season continues to go south?

New England Patriots All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore has been a star in their secondary since 2017, but recent NFL rumors suggest his time in New England could end before the trade deadline.

Gilmore, who signed with the Patriots in 2017, has emerged as one of the NFL’s best players since teaming up with Bill Belichick. However, with the Patriots sliding further in the standings, it seems a big move could be on the horizon.

Gilmore, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was reportedly put on the trade block this offseason. The Patriots considered trading Gilmore before the 2020 NFL Draft and during training camp. While a move would have created financial flexibility, the Patriots ultimately kept him.

After signing Cam Newton, it looked like New England would be contenders once again. Now sitting at 2-3 after an ugly loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Bill Belichick might be open to reconsidering a trade.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer noted on Monday that Gilmore likely won’t be back with the Patriots in 2021, creating a real possibility that he could be moved before the NFL trade deadline.

It’s incredibly rare for an All-Pro talent to be traded during the season, although Jalen Ramsey was sent to the Los Angeles Rams for two first-round picks last season. Gilmore is under contract for next season with a $17.7 million cap hit, a figure New England seemingly wants to get off its books.

However, Gilmore hasn’t played to his usual standard this season. After recording an 85.7 coverage grade with 47 receptions allowed and six interceptions in 16 games last season, per Pro Football Focus, he has a 61.0 coverage grade with 13 catches allowed this year.

It’s a notable decline for a cornerback who earned first-team All-Pro honors in each of the past two seasons. But the slow start could be attributed to him having COVID-19, which has affected plenty of professional athletes.

If Belichick decides to trade Gilmore, practically every NFL contender will be calling. In a pass-heavy league, opportunities to land a shutdown cornerback rarely come around. The Patriots could land a first-round pick in a loaded 2021 NFL Draft class and that’s a price plenty of teams would be willing to pay for Gilmore’s services.

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