Rumors link the Chicago Bears with cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Should the team consider trading for him?
It seems that after a 2-4 start, the New England Patriots are in a bit of a tough situation. The team had multiple players opt out due to COVID-19, and are off to a bumpy start this season. It’s not to say that the Patriots are no longer the same team they once were, but 2020 has not been kind to them so far. As a result, the rumors have begun of the team offloading players for draft capital, including All-Pro cornerback Stephen Gilmore. Could the Chicago Bears deal for the talented cornerback?
Gilmore was drafted 10th overall by the Buffalo Bills in 2012. He signed a five-year, $65,000,000 contract with the Patriots back in 2017. He’s played some of his best football with the Patriots, earning an All-Pro recognition and AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.
It was reported by Joey Murr of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston that the team was interested in moving on from Gilmore. The biggest connection, according to Murr, was the Chicago Bears. The team wanted to sign Gilmore back in 2017, but contract negotiations didn’t pan out well. The Bears ended up signing Prince Amukamara instead.
The Patriots are starting to look ahead here. They’re 2-3. Cam Newton hasn’t played well. The schedule doesn’t get any easier, and right now, Buffalo is ahead. Would it make sense, with all the Patriots’ depth in their secondary, to try to get ahead of it and move on from Stephon Gilmore now? And one of the teams that may be interested is the Chicago Bears.
Should the Bears make a move?
While the thought of having a player of Gilmore’s pedigree on the defense sounds enticing, this move doesn’t make a lot of sense. For one thing, the team seems pretty set at cornerback. Kyle Fuller is playing some of the best football he’s ever played. Additionally, rookie Jaylon Johnson has been an immediate contributor and is third in the league with pass breakups.
The Bears may see Gilmore as a better fit at nickel cornerback. That spot is currently occupied by Buster Skrine. Skrine has been solid for the Bears but definitely isn’t on the same level as Gilmore. Gilmore plays press man better than Skrine and would certainly be an upgrade. The Bears could offload Skrine’s contract in any deal for Gilmore.
Another red flag about this deal is Gilmore’s contract. There are two years left on his deal. The Patriots don’t owe him anymore guaranteed money, however. The Bears, on the other hand, only have $8 million in cap space. With next year’s salary cap likely to take a hit due to COVID-19, the Bears might not be in a position to take on that contract.
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The deal would also mean the Bears giving up their 2020 first-round pick. The Bears haven’t had a first-round selection in the past two years, ever since they traded for linebacker Khalil Mack: it may not be wise to sacrifice another one. The team has glaring holes on the roster that could be replaced by a first-round talent.
The last thing to consider is Bill Belichick. Belichick tends to send players away who are beginning their downfall in terms of level of play. For example, Malcolm Butler left the Patriots to sign with the Tennessee Titans. After helping the team win Super Bowl XLIX, Butler dropped off in terms of production with the Titans. For the most part, former Patriots don’t seem to play as well when they leave New England. If Belichick believes that Gilmore’s value is going to drop, the Bears need to stay far away.