Stephon Gilmore‘s 2015 season has come to an early end, with the Bills announcing today that the team has placed the veteran cornerback on injured reserve due to a shoulder issue (Twitter links via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com). To replace Gilmore on the 53-man roster, the Bills have signed linebacker Max Valles off the Raiders’ practice squad.
Gilmore, 25, suffered a shoulder injury in the Bills’ Week 13 win over Houston, which sidelined him this past week. Shortly after Gilmore sustained the injury, head coach Rex Ryan told reporters that he didn’t expect it to be a season-ender. However, Ryan was less confident about that earlier this week, indicating on Monday that the former first-round pick may land on IR due to a dislocated shoulder (Twitter link via Joe Buscaglia of WKBW).
According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link), Gilmore is undergoing surgery on his troublesome shoulder in order to repair a labrum tear. Since he was a first-rounder in 2012, Gilmore still has one more year remaining on his contract with the Bills, in the form of a fifth-year option, so he should return to the team next season.
Prior to the injury, Gilmore was having perhaps his best year as a pro, having established a new career high with 18 passes defended. The South Carolina product had also grabbed three interceptions, and ranks as a top-15 cornerback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades.