With training camps opening in just a couple of weeks, trade rumors have begun heating up. This is especially the case with big name veterans, who many thought would have been a part of a deal around the draft back in April. A recent example we explored is that of Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. The Patriots and their star cornerback Stephon Gilmore are in the same boat.
Gilmore wants a new deal and the team is reluctant to re-invest in the aging veteran. The problem in both cases is that the potential offers up until this point have not been satisfactory in the teams’ eyes.Embed from Getty Images
As we get closer to training camp, the perspective of all of the front offices begins to change. Teams may bump up their offers or teams may lower their expectations and demands for compensation. The perspective of players may also change too. Is a player willing to deal with the fines to sit out until a deal is reached? Does that in fact hurt the likelihood of a deal because it hinders their current team’s negotiating position?
All of these questions should be answered in the next couple of weeks. The likely outcome is to trade Stephon Gilmore for non-premier draft capital and the team on the other end would re-work his contract a bit to make him happy. One of the favorite contenders in a Stephon Gilmore trade should be the Dallas Cowboys.
We outlined here why and who the Cowboys should target of the remaining free agents to help their secondary. The other way to solve their issues is to pull off the Stephon Gilmore trade.
Why should the Cowboys trade for Stephon Gilmore?
Gilmore struggled last season. No doubt. He posted a PFF of 61, which his lowest since his second year in the league back in 2013. The entire Patriots defense greatly struggled as they had to contend with injuries and COVID opt outs, including Dont’a Hightower. I would expect a major bounce back this year from Gilmore as the situation around him stabilizes this year with players returning and new talent having been injected via the draft and free agency. The Cowboys would in essence be “buying low” on his stock as the Patriots look to offload a disgruntled star, as they always do.
Gilmore’s PFF in 2018 was 90.7 and 82.8 in 2019. The Cowboys secondary was historically bad in 2020, so it’s well worth the risk if they can pull it off for less than first round draft capital. Adding him to the mix with Trevon Diggs and rookie Kelvin Joseph would give them the weapons they need to keep up with the various weapons the Giants now possess, as well as, other NFC contenders like the Rams, Seahawks, Packers, and Buccaneers.
What would the compensation be if the Cowboys trade for Stephon Gilmore?
We brought up the scenario of sending Leighton Vander Esch to New England as a part of this deal. New England covets big, physical linebackers and Vander Esch would fit in just fine. The Cowboys could afford to part with their linebacker since they drafted Micah Parsons in the first round. Lorenzo Neal would be called upon to fill in for Vander Esch at weakside linebacker.
If Vander Esch is not involved, a second-round pick might be New England’s price; however, I don’t think that a team would pay that. Gilmore’s stock is nowhere near as high as Julio Jones. A third-round pick and a later round selection might get the job done. Again, this all depends upon how much pressure does New England feel and how much pressure does Gilmore and his agent put on them to get something done.
Re-working Stephon Gilmore’s contract
As per Spotrac, Gilmore accounts for the largest cap hit for the Patriots in 2021 at a sum of over $16M. He’s in the final year of his deal, so he’s looking for an extension to be added on to that. This would benefit the Cowboys as they only have roughly $5M in cap room currently. They could add on a couple of more years to his deal and convert it to guaranteed money to be paid now, but for the cap space accounting rules to spread it out over three seasons. They could also look to restructure a contract of a current player, to free up more cap space now.