Patriots Sign CB Stephon Gilmore in Suprisingly Flashy Free Agency Move
Though the New England Patriots typically stand pat during the league's free agency period, at least when it comes to the top available players on the market, the team has made one of it's most expensive signings in its history on day one.
First reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Patriots have agreed to terms on a 5-year, $65 million deal with former Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
To say the deal, which includes a reported $40 million guaranteed, is a bit of a shocking move would be a great understatement, especially because of the fact that it was made by the Pats.
New England has stared clear of deals like this in the past, usually opting to pass on signing even their own, homegrown talent when the player is in the ballpark of "big pay day" money.
It appears, however, that Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick finds Gilmore, who has spent his entire 5-year career in the AFC East with Buffalo, worth it.
Gilmore was considered one of the top players on the market heading into the start of free agency today and arguably the top corner available, depending on how you view him and now Jacksonville Jaguars corner A.J. Bouye.
Over his first five seasons in the league, Gilmore has become a top corner, totaling 198 tackles, 14 interceptions and 62 passes defensed.
The move does potentially throw Malcolm Butler's future in New England into flux, especially since the Pats and Butler have not been able to work out a long-term deal.
ESPN's Dianna Russini also added this morning that the Pats have considered sending Butler to the New Orleans Saints in a deal to acquire wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
While Gilmore may have been signed as a replacement for Butler, having both corners on the field next season would make the Pats secondary one of the best in the league.