Stephon Gilmore’s name has been mentioned continually over the past few months in regards to potential trades. However, don’t expect the New England Patriots star to be moved in a rumored trade with the Atlanta Falcons for future Hall-of-Famer Julio Jones.
Patriots.com’s Paul Perillo breaks down why Gilmore isn’t likely to be included in a deal for Jones.
Atlanta is rebuilding under a first-year coach (Arthur Smith) and GM (Terry Fontenot) so Stephon Gilmore wouldn’t likely add much to the potential package – especially given Gilmore’s desire for a new deal, which would defeat the purpose of the Falcons trying to create cap room in the first place. Jones would make a lot of sense for Belichick as he tries to offer some pieces for his quarterbacks to work with. Jones wouldn’t put the offense over the top or turn New England into a title contender, but he, Agholor and Bourne along with tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry would give opposing defensive coordinators something to think about when game planning for the Patriots pass attack.
Because Gilmore has been the subject of trade rumors for the past few months and considering he’s still likely capable of performing at a high level, it’s only natural to regard him as a potential trade piece if the Patriots pursue Jones.
While there are some financial impediments, there are other reasons for the Patriots to keep Gilmore out of trade considerations.
Gilmore Isn’t Expendable
The Patriots don’t have great depth at cornerback as it is, so it would make sense for the team to hold onto Gilmore, especially considering the rest of the defense is so strong.
J.C. Jackson may not have the chops to be a cornerback matched against teams’ best receivers weekly. The recently acquired Jalen Mills is more of a hybrid corner/safety in the mold of the retiring Patrick Chung. Because of their current depth chart, the Patriots still need Gilmore.
New England has a chance to have a strong season, but subtracting Gilmore–even for a talent like Jones–might be taking one step backward to take one forward.
The Potential Downside of Acquiring Jones
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer shared some financial details about a potential trade for Jones.
In acquiring Jones, a team would be inheriting what’s essentially a three-year, $38.3 million contract—and that’s a steal for someone at Jones’s level. The problem is he’s 33, and he’s never shown any reluctance to seek his worth in the past. He’s due $15.3 million this year, and if he crushes it in the fall for a new team, you’d imagine he might be looking for a correction on what’s left of his deal. At 34 years old. And if he doesn’t crush it? Well, that’s not a great result either.
Even with this situation as it is, if the Patriots have an excellent path to acquiring Jones, it would behoove them to jump all over the opportunity. Jones’ presence would transform an already-improved group of offensive weapons into one of the best offenses in the AFC.
When a deal like that presents itself, it is best to be sensibly aggressive.