Patriots Talk: Stephon Gilmore Press Conference
Much has been in discussion about the Patriots this off-season. Free agency, trade rumors and of course the NFL Draft. One of the shocks was of course [Cornerback] Stephon Gilmore from the Buffalo Bills. Last week, he was in a discussion with the media and went into detail about his place on the team.
It was revealed that Gilmore will be wearing the No.24 in 2017 (same number he wore in Buffalo). He had talked with fellow [cornerback] and rookie Cyrus Jones to acquire the number. Previous players who have worn the No.24 were Patriots Hall of Famer, Ty Law and Super Bowl XLIX champion (former New York Jet) Darrelle Revis.
“I just always wanted the number, That’s what number a lot of guys I looked up to wore so that’s one number that I always loved.”
Gilmore said former Denver Bronco [cornerback] Champ Bailey was one of his favorite players while growing up. Bailey was a 1st Round pick, 7th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft and was a 12 time Pro-Bowler and was voted to the 2000s All-Decade Team at Cornerback. Needless to say, he picked a very good player to admire as Bailey will be eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot in 2020.
Stephon Gilmore "just always wanted the number" 24. Says he looked up to Champ Bailey and other 24s. pic.twitter.com/nLEsHyCW0Z
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) May 11, 2017
Building The Secondary
While it seemed rather sudden that Gilmore wanted the number from Cyrus, he likely was alright with the decision. After coming off a horrifying rookie campaign last year (especially on special teams), Jones likely wants a new fresh start after a rocky rookie season. (his new number will be No. 41). There is alot of pressure on Gilmore to prove himself worthy of his big payday and many will be looking at him coming into next season.
However, the concern among many was how Gilmore’s signing would effect relations with [cornerback] Malcolm Butler. He has been the best cornerback for the team for the past two seasons and could signed have signed an extension around $6-7 million a year but according to sources, Butler’s agent and him wanted $10 million.
This whole situation with Gilmore made others believe that Butler would demand for a trade which almost came to be with the New Orleans Saints. He even had a visit with the Saints and they had reached an agreement for a four-year contract that was worth $50 million. The Saints were willing take a huge cap hit for Butler the deal was never finalized since Butler was a restricted free agent and they never came close to offering the Patriots a large enough draft capital to consider the deal during the draft. (The Patriots potentially wanted the Saints 11th overall pick to start but the Saints wouldn’t budge on that)
— Sean Leahy (@leahysean) May 11, 2017
This means Butler is staying and likely will remain the Patriots No.1 Cornerback. (Gilmore will likely fill in for Logan Ryan as No.2 Cornerback) The questions surrounding Butler’s situation will not likely be answered till the 2017 season is finished. Is there a chance for a contract extension? Most definitely, but its unknown if the two parties will come to the same conclusion. It’s never wise to assume anything when it comes to Bill Belichick obviously. Even the very last scenario can’t be dismissed, but this isn’t something Gilmore can do anything about. The only thing thing that either Butler or Gilmore can do is work on their teamwork as a two man duo.
“I know [Butler]’s a talented player, but I just try to stay in my lane and handle the things I can handle. It’s a competitive group so I’m looking forward to it.
“(Butler) just competes no matter what. He just competes to the end of the play. I mean, all the guys do in the secondary, so that’s one thing that stuck out to me.”
Despite their differences, I feel that the Patriots’ secondary for the upcoming season will be something to watch out for.