The New England Patriots have released All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The move is surprising, but not entirely shocking. There’s been tension brewing between Gilmore and the Pats for quite some time now.
Gilmore, 31, has been dealing with a quad injury since the 2020 season. He played just 11 games last year, and entered the 2021 season dissatisfied with his contract situation. His base salary was around $7 million, which is about half of what cornerbacks of his talent level are making. Gilmore and the Patriots weren’t able to come to a resolution, so he sat out mandatory minicamp in June and was fined $94,000.
Still unable to come to an agreement, the Pats placed Gilmore on the physically unable to perform list a month later when he reported for training camp.
Gilmore, a three-time All-Pro and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, emblazoned himself on the hearts of New England fans everywhere when he intercepted Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff late in the game of Super Bowl LIII, sealing the Patriots’ eventual 13-3 win.
Gilmore should have no problem finding a new team. He’s expected be recovered from his quad injury in the next few weeks, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are already being mentioned as a possible next destination. That’s where Gilmore’s former teammate Tom Brady plays, and where several Patriots castoffs have found a new home.
Gilmore posted a note on Instagram, saying goodbye and thank you to Patriots fans and team owner Robert Kraft.
Missing from Gilmore’s goodbye note? Any mention of head coach Bill Belichick.