The Stephon Gilmore standoff came to a strange conclusion, even if it was to be expected. Coach Bill Belichick traded the star cornerback to the Carolina Panthers. Considering Gilmore had been entrenched in trade reports for over a year, the transaction wasn’t a shocker. But his departure netted just a 2021 sixth-round pick for the New England Patriots. Gilmore, who was unhappy with his contact in New England, was also willing to play out the final few months of his deal with the Panthers.
It almost felt like a lose-lose situation. That’s not how former Patriots cornerback and current NFL analyst Darius Butler viewed the transaction, however. He felt like the transaction will age well.
“It’ll be looked back at as a good deal by Bill (Belichick),” Butler said during his appearance on the podcast. “Obviously, you’re going to have some upset fans, maybe some upset players in that locker room. But that’s the guy (in Belichick) who I think has learned a little bit of credibility and a little bit of trust up there in Boston.
Butler said Gilmore probably wasn’t worth what he was asking for on a contract restructuring, with Gilmore reportedly asking for something similar to Darius Slay’s deal: three years, $50 million. That’s why, Butler figured, the Patriots decided that they could part ways with Gilmore for a sixth-round pick. With a deep secondary, the Patriots can use the cap space for 2022.
“I can’t really fault Bill for that because you went out and spent money on Jalen Mills, like I said, I assume they will spend the right amount of money on J.C. Jackson to lock him up. He’s more … in the prime of his career as a cornerback. You saw him lock up and go toe-to-toe with one of the best receivers in the league, Mike Evans, in their last game.”
“I can understand, wearing that GM hat, how this decision — and you brought him in and you got four great years out of him. Four great years. A Super Bowl title. A Defensive Player of the Year. It’s not too many free agent moves or trades that work out as well as Stephon Gilmore did. And obviously, you’ve got a sixth-round pick in return for him, but you do get those (contract) numbers off the books going forward.”