Well shit, Gilmore’s gone, right?
Obviously that’s an overreaction but we all know that’s every Patriots fans initial thought reading that tweet. This seems to be par for the course for upset players in the NFL now:
In season rumors of player being traded —-> Player speaks and says he’s “not listening to the noise, just focused on this year” or some iteration of that —-> Player gets benched/put on IR for injury reasons —-> Player tweets an emoji/confused sentence about said benching or a reporter gets scoop that Player isn’t happy with benching —-> Player tweets out inspirational off-season quote —-> Player gets traded or released.
Don’t get me wrong, I want Gilmore to stay and play out his contract, but it’s looking more and more like we’re nearing the end of that process. Meaning the Pats may have a gaping lockdown corner-sized hole to fill pretty soon.
Now, strictly dealing with the #1 corner spot isn’t going to be difficult. JC Jackson, who’s a RFA this spring so he should be back, is primed to step into that role, regardless of what some local media members or cynical fans will tell you. It’s the depth that will then take a big hit.
Other than Gilmore and Jackson, the Pats aren’t as deep as they’d like at cornerback.
Jon Jones has shown promise, but can he be a consistent #2 corner? Remains to be seen. Joejuan Williams has gotten praise from Belichick on many occasions, but is he ready for a major uptick? And the combo of Myles Bryant and D’Angelo Ross leave much to be desired.
In a year where defense will likely be relied heavily upon to keep games close, an iffy secondary is the last thing you need. So Gilmore staying, at least to start the season, is a necessity.
Of course, this is all based off a cryptic tweet that could mean nothing. Hell, it could mean that Gilmore is ready to “sacrifice” to stay IN New England and fight the good fight this season. But if it means the other thing? The Pats are in trouble.
Not only will it shake up the current roster, it’ll no doubt impact how GM Bill drafts this year. Quarterback is an obvious needs and a breakout receiving weapon would be nice, but we know Belichick covets defense. What happens when he takes Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II at pick 15 and Patriot Nation loses their mind? Belichick may be ready to draft Mac Jones or one of the many supremely talented receivers at that spot, but Gilmore being traded may force his him to look elsewhere. Which, in my opinion, would be a mistake. This is the year you draft THE guy or you make a trade for one of the current available QB’s and take an offensive threat early in the draft to help him.
Again, I’m not saying Gilmore is gone. He’ll probably stay and put together another Pro Bowl season for all I know. But in most cases like this, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And I think the coals are starting to heat up.