As the New England Patriots face unfamiliar waters in 2021, the trading of assets to facilitate a rebuild could be in the cards. Rumors are swirling that CB Stephon Gilmore could be traded in the coming weeks if the right landing spot can be found before the NFL Draft kicks off.
New England needs to start the turnaround and in a hurry
The 2021 offseason is pivotal for the future of the Patriots. While Tom Brady is soaking in the sun with his seventh Super Bowl victory, Bill Belichick is in the frozen hell called mediocrity. If the Patriots are going to compete next season, they have several holes to fill, none larger than who will be under center after the failed Cam Newton experiment.
To say this is unfamiliar territory would be an understatement.
The turnaround needs to happen fast, and the margin for error is razor-thin. The Buffalo Bills are now one of the best teams in the AFC, Miami had a 10-6 season, and the New York Jets got rid of Adam Gase. Don’t look now, but the Patriots might be on the bottom of the totem pole by 2022.
Luckily for the team, they have the cap space. According to Over the Cap, the Patriots have an estimated $62.21 million in cap space if it holds at the projected $180 million in 2021. They can be aggressive in free agency and replenish a pedestrian offense whose best receiver was a UDFA from NC State.
Another way to jump-start the turnaround would be through trading. While it can backfire or ruffle the fan base’s feathers, adding draft capital in a talent class like 2021’s could be a massive step in the right direction. One such candidate for a potential trade is CB Stephon Gilmore.
If the Patriots find the right landing spot, Stephon Gilmore could be traded before the NFL Draft
After earning Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, Gilmore took a step backward in 2020. His season ended early due to a nagging quad injury.
Gilmore is heading into the final year of his deal. While the Patriots gave him a sizeable pay raise for last season, the 30-year-old defender is due $7 million in 2021. Even with his age and injury-filled season, Gilmore still has excellent value in the trade market right now.
It would make a lot of sense if the Patriots moved the veteran this offseason. Knowing that Stephon Gilmore would be an upgrade for nearly every team’s pass defense, finding a landing spot for him should not be an issue.
Potential landing spots if the Patriots trade Stephon Gilmore
The Patriots are not shy about trading players. Thus, let’s investigate two of the destinations Gilmore could land.
Could the Cleveland Browns trade for Stephon Gilmore?
Talk about the rich getting richer. After their playoff appearance in 2020, the Cleveland Browns are looking to make it two seasons in a row. Adding strength to their defense, especially the secondary, would go a long way in those efforts.
Adding Stephon Gilmore to Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams is a spoil of riches. He’d also add some depth in case of an injury to either player. Adding more high-level depth to the secondary would also give guys like Myles Garrett (and potentially J.J. Watt) more time to get to the QB as receivers try to get open. As far as landing spots go for Stephon Gilmore, a trade with the Browns would be a perfect fit for both sides.
Are the Jacksonville Jaguars a potential landing spot for Stephon Gilmore?
Reports were that, before the trade deadline, the Patriots were looking for a first-round pick and a player in exchange for Stephon Gilmore. That seems a bit high to me, especially given his age and what a team like Jacksonville is trying to do.
They are not one player away, and those picks are vital. However, shoring up the defense to help keep Trevor Lawrence in games would be a massive boost as it takes the pressure off the offense. In terms of cap space, the Jaguars have the most of anyone in the NFL at $77.55 million.
Trading for Stephon Gilmore could serve another purpose as well. He would bring a veteran presence and serve as a mentor to C.J. Henderson, who could blossom into a star in the NFL. While this landing spot seems a bit under the radar, I could see it happening if Stephon Gilmore is traded.
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