Stephon Gilmore

AFC Rumors: Gilmore, Pryor, Petit-Frere, Wilson, Jaguars

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore is playing with his fourth team after a short stint in Carolina. He started in Buffalo before signing with the Patriots. New England traded the two-time All-Pro midseason for only a sixth-round draft pick in return. Gilmore was injured at the time, but the compensation the Patriots received never made a ton of sense. Recently, though, Gilmore elaborated on the situation that deteriorated in New England, according to Stephen Holder of ESPN.

At the peak of his career, Gilmore suffered a torn quadriceps in the 2020 season. The injury kept him on the Patriots’ reserve/physically unable to perform list to start the 2021 season and, during that time, the relationship between Gilmore and New England “reached a point of no return.”

“I just didn’t like how they handled my situation, my injury,” Gilmore told reporters. “The situation just, I don’t know, wasn’t right for both sides.”

Here are a few more rumors from around the AFC, starting with a couple position battle victories in the AFC South:

  • In a bit of a surprise decision, it appears that veteran offensive tackle Matt Pryor has won the left tackle job in Indianapolis over rookie third-round pick Bernhard Raimann, according to Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. Pryor has only ever started one game at left tackle in the NFL and many expected the rookie out of Central Michigan to give him a strong run for the job. Erickson goes on to say that, should Pryor not perform up to expectations, there’s a strong chance that the starting job could slip out of his grasp.
  • A third-round rookie who did win the starting job is just across the division in Tennessee. Titans general manager Jon Robinson made it known last weekend that Ohio State rookie Nicholas Petit-Frere will start at right tackle to open the season, according to Kayla Anderson of WKRN News 2. Last year’s rookie offensive lineman Dillon Radunz failed to earn much of a role last season but, reportedly, did everything right this offseason. Still, Petit-Frere has effectively won the starting job and Radunz will continue to come off the bench in Year 2.
  • New Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson received an impressive contract extension this week reported as a five-year, $245MM deal. The new money on the contract extension was originally reported to be $49MM per year. Those original reports failed to take the league’s new 17th-week into account when calculating the new money, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports. Wilson was entitled to two more years under his previous contract and the original new money reports included the Week 17 paychecks that really should’ve been included with the original contract. So, while still an extremely impressive payday for Wilson, his average new money is more like $48.52MM per year than $49MM.
  • The Jaguars are losing a member of their front office, according to Seth Walder of ESPN. Director of strategic research & development Momin Ghaffar is leaving the team for a job outside of football. In fact, the job is “outside of sports.” This isn’t a terrible surprise as the position was one of Jacksonville’s many roles that fuse business analytics with football analytics.

Contract Details: Gilmore, Cooks, Nelson, Smith, Bynes, Watkins

Here are some details on deals recently signed around the NFL:

  • Stephon Gilmore, CB (Colts): Two-year, $20MM. The deal includes $10.51MM guaranteed at signing and $14MM in overall guarantees. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Gilmore’s Year 1 payout will total $10.02MM.
  • Brandin Cooks, WR (Texans): Two-year, $39.76MM. The deal includes $36MM guaranteed at signing consisting of the $16MM signing bonus (applied over three years) and the first two years of base salary ($2MM in 2022 and $18MM in 2023), according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. Cooks will have a per game active bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500,000 and will receive a roster bonus in 2024 of $3MM.
  • Steven Nelson, CB (Texans): Two-year, $9MM. The deal is worth up to $10MM, according to Wilson. It includes $4.5MM guaranteed at signing consisting of a $2MM signing bonus, the 2022 base salary of $1.75MM, and $750,000 of the 2023 base salary. Nelson will have a 2022 per game active bonus of $44,117 for a potential season total of $750,000 and a 2023 per game active bonus of $58,832 for a potential season total of $1MM. The deal includes an unspecified incentive worth $250,000 for the 2022 season.
  • Geno Smith, QB (Seahawks): One-year, $3.5MM. The deal is worth up to $7MM, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, with up to $3.5MM worth of incentives likely triggerable if he wins the starting job. The deal includes a guaranteed amount of $500,000.
  • Josh Bynes, LB (Ravens): One-year, $1.27MM. According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN, the deal includes $600,000 of guaranteed money consisting of the signing bonus worth $152,500 and $447,500 of the base salary (worth $1.12MM total).
  • Sammy Watkins, WR (Packers): One-year, $1.85MM. The deal includes a signing bonus of $350,000 and is worth up to $4MM, according to USA Today’s Ryan Wood, with incentives for playtime, catches, yards, and touchdowns. Watkins can earn an extra $150,000, $350,000, or $525,000 if he plays a snap count percentage of 55%, 60%, or 65%, respectively. He can earn an extra $150,000, $350,000, or $525,000 if he records a receptions total of 50, 60, or 70 catches, respectively. He can earn an extra $150,000, $350,000, or $525,000 if he has yardage totals of 550, 650, or 700, respectively. Lastly, Watkins can earn an extra $150,000, $350,000, or $575,000 if he catches 7, 8, or 9 touchdowns, respectively.

Eagles, 3 Other Playoff Teams Made Run At Gilmore

After discussing deals and meeting with several teams that made the playoffs in the 2021 NFL season, cornerback Stephon Gilmore ended up signing with a team that just missed the playoffs in Week 18 last season joining the Colts. Well, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, the teams that pushed the hardest for the two-time All-Pro were playoff teams from last season: the Eagles, Raiders, Rams, and Bills. 

Philadelphia “made a hard play” for the ten-year veteran in their efforts to replace departing starter Steven Nelson. Nelson started alongside Darius Slay in the Eagles’ secondary last season before signing with Houston this offseason. Without Nelson, the Eagles will likely count on Avonte Maddox to take another step in his development after being a strong rotational player for the past four seasons. They may turn to the 2022 NFL Draft to address the position, but, currently sitting at 15th, they would likely miss out on the Draft’s two most exciting cornerback prospects: Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner and LSU’s Derek Stingley. Those two are even less likely to fall to Philadelphia with Baltimore sitting one spot in front of them wanting to add some depth to the position after spending most of last year without starters Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey.

Las Vegas had an impressive showing from their cornerback group last year despite losing Damon Arnette due to multiple lawsuits and behavioral issues and only seeing Trayvon Mullen play five games. The Raiders saw Casey Hayward, Nate Hobbs, and Brandon Facyson step up and contribute to a strong defense. With Hayward going to Atlanta and Facyson joining Gilmore in Indianapolis, the Raiders made addressing the cornerback position a priority. Luckily, despite missing out on Gilmore, the Raiders made strong additions acquiring Rock Ya-Sin from the Colts in exchange for Yannick Ngakoue and signing Anthony Averett, who started much of last year for the Ravens with Peters and Humphrey injured. Ya-Sin and Averett will join a hopefully full-health Mullen and Hobbs to round out a solid cornerback room.

The Rams pursued Gilmore in an attempt to replace departing starter Darious Williams after he signed with the Jaguars this offseason. Los Angeles returns star Jalen Ramsey and role players David Long and Dont’e Deayon, but they likely would’ve preferred to add another bona fide starter opposite Gilmore. Unlike the Eagles, the Rams probably won’t turn to the Draft to fill this role. They’ve made an example in the league trading draft capital for experienced veterans and won a Super Bowl doing so. Not only is it more on brand for them to seek a replacement through the trade and free agent markets, but, even if they wanted to use the Draft, they don’t have a selection in the Draft until the 104th pick.

The Bills would’ve liked to bring Gilmore back home to Buffalo after losing starter Levi Wallace to free agency. Buffalo brings back plenty of contributors from last year in Tre’Davious White, Taron Johnson, Dane Jackson, and Siran Neal, but bringing back Gilmore would’ve allowed them to slip him into the void left by Wallace without asking too much of Jackson or Neal to step up. The Bills could try to slot in another veteran free agent cornerback like Joe Haden, Kyle Fuller, or Chris Harris, or, with a later first-round pick, they could try to take a flyer on one of the Draft’s less elite corners like Washington’s Trent McDuffie or Florida’s Kaiir Elam.

The targeting of Gilmore by these playoff teams speaks to his current value in the NFL. It shows something that teams contending to win it all believe he can add value to their defense. There’s also something to be said that these teams usually have a nearly complete roster, seeking Gilmore to fill in one of their last positions of need. While Gilmore may not be able to anchor a defense by himself on a fledgling defense, he can make strong contributions when surrounded by talented teammates. In Indianapolis, he’ll team up with Kenny Moore and Facyson to lead an otherwise inexperienced group of corners.

Colts To Sign Stephon Gilmore

Just days after meeting with the Colts, cornerback Stephon Gilmore has decided to sign there. He is joining Indianapolis, as reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). 

ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds (on Twitter) that the deal is two years in length, and is worth $23MM, with $14MM guaranteed. It brings an end to a surprisingly lengthy free agent wait for the 31-year-old, given his pedigree. While he likely won’t reach the heights seen from the earlier parts of his All-Pro career, he demonstrated an ability to remain productive this past season.

Gilmore spent the first five seasons of his career with the Bills, but is most well-known for his time in New England. It was there that he earned four of his five Pro Bowls, his lone Super Bowl title and the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019. However, his Patriots tenure came to an end in October when he was traded to the Panthers.

While his time as a Panther was still productive – he compiled two interceptions and a pair of pass deflections in eight games – the team turned its attention to re-signing fellow corner Donte Jackson this offseason. He, along with 2021 first-rounder Jaycee Horn and midseason acquisition C.J. Henderson will head their depth chart moving forward.

Gilmore met with a number of teams as the offseason progressed. The list of interested clubs included the Raiders, Chiefs, Rams and, most significantly, Colts. This signing represents another notable defensive addition, something general manager Chris Ballard recently signalled could be coming. Now, Gilmore will help replace Rock Ya-Sin, whom the team traded away to add Yannick Ngakoue. Those two, coupled with incumbents Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner, should give the Colts an improved defense in 2022, as the look to contend in a highly-competitive AFC.

Colts Meet With CB Stephon Gilmore

Holding the second-most cap space in the NFL, the Colts are interested in one of the top free agents. They brought Stephon Gilmore in for a visit Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

The Colts have a need at cornerback, having sent starter Rock Ya-Sin to the Raiders for Yannick Ngakoue at the start of free agency, and Gilmore is one of the more accomplished cover men over the past several years. According to Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star (on Twitter), today’s visit was more than the organization kicking the tires…the Colts have legitimate interest in Gilmore.

[RELATED: Rams Reach Out To Gilmore]

Gilmore, 31, has been connected to multiple contending teams. The Rams, Chiefs and Raiders have pursued the former Defensive Player of the Year. The Colts’ $21MM in cap space surpasses this trio, though the Chiefs are not far behind ($18MM-plus). The 10-year veteran has been patient, but his market did not take off early in free agency. Gilmore joins a few high-profile defenders in being unattached in mid-April.

Indianapolis still rosters standout slot defender Kenny Moore, but its 2021 outside starters (Ya-Sin and Xavier Rhodes) are not in the picture. This will be an area the Colts address in the draft, but Jim Irsay recently said the team was pursuing a big-name free agent. The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time All-Pro while with New England, Gilmore has that pedigree.

The former first-round pick played just nine games last season, beginning the year late after a holdout and injury hiatus — stemming from his 2020 quadriceps injury and subsequent surgery — preceded a trade to the Panthers. Gilmore intercepted two passes with Carolina and went to the Pro Bowl as an alternate, but he allowed 68% of the passes thrown his way to be completed — well north of his two All-Pro Pats seasons. Still, the five-time Pro Bowler would be a starter-caliber addition to just about every secondary and potentially provide an impact on a short-term deal.

Rams Have Been In Contact With CB Stephon Gilmore

The Rams are seemingly connected to every big name, and it sounds like they’ve kicked the tires on a former Defensive Player of the Year. According to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, the Rams “have been in contact” with cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Of course, while the Rams may have interest in a player of Gilmore’s caliber, it’s uncertain if they’ll be able to afford the defensive back. As Rodrigue notes, the organization “couldn’t pay anywhere near” what the cornerback was expecting heading into the offseason. Still, it wouldn’t be the first time a player has taken a significant pay cut in pursuit of a ring, and if Gilmore’s market isn’t what he anticipated, it’d make some sense if he settled for a one-year, prove-it deal with a contender.

In Los Angeles, Gilmore would be a natural fit opposite Jalen Ramsey. Plus, as Rodrigue writes, Gilmore’s presence on the outside would allow Ramsey to also serve in the “star” position. In that situation, Gilmore and someone like Robert Rochell or David Long Jr. would occupy the outside spots.

Gilmore, 31, being patient is unsurprising here, given his quest to see a pay raise during the second half of his Patriots tenure. Gilmore voiced frustration about his Pats contract — a five-year, $65MM deal that became wildly team-friendly as the market moved — in 2020 and 2021, leading to a pay bump for the ’20 season and a trade to the Panthers the following year. Leading up to free agency, Carolina had not closed the door on a Gilmore re-signing. He’s since received interest from the Raiders and Chiefs, but a deal hasn’t materialized.

The veteran was limited to only nine games this past season, but he still managed to earn his fourth-straight Pro Bowl nod after finishing with a pair of interceptions.

Chiefs, Stephon Gilmore Discussing Deal

Stephon Gilmore‘s top two suitors look to be in the AFC West, a division that has seen a few impact defenders arrive over the past two weeks. While the Raiders are eyeing the former Defensive Player of the Year, the Chiefs are as well.

The Chiefs have joined the Raiders in discussing a deal with Gilmore, Aaron Wilson of notes. The Raiders were connected to Gilmore early in free agency and have ex-Patriot staffers Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels running the team, but the veteran cornerback has options.

Gilmore, 31, being patient is unsurprising here, given his quest to see a pay raise during the second half of his Patriots tenure. Gilmore voiced frustration about his Pats contract — a five-year, $65MM deal that became wildly team-friendly as the market moved — in 2020 and 2021, leading to a pay bump for the ’20 season and a trade to the Panthers the following year. Leading up to free agency, Carolina had not closed the door on a Gilmore re-signing. But the team prioritized Donte Jackson, who has since signed an extension.

A Gilmore-Kansas City addition would give the Chiefs additional ammo in an AFC West that has seen defenders Khalil Mack, Chandler Jones, Randy Gregory, D.J. Jones, Sebastian Joseph-Day and ex-Gilmore sidekick J.C. Jackson join the Chiefs’ rivals. The Chiefs lost Charvarius Ward to a $14MM-per-year 49ers deal and saw contributor Mike Hughes sign with the Lions. While Kansas City signed Justin Reid, it looks to come at the expense of a Tyrann Mathieu exit. The Chiefs still have L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton at corner, but the team is eyeing veterans.

A James Bradberry trade remains on the Chiefs’ radar, Wilson adds. The Giants are looking to move Bradberry, but he is going into a contract year on a $13.4MM salary. That has limited his trade appeal thus far. Kansas City has not spent much on cornerbacks in recent years, but its Tyreek Hill trade has freed up some cash. The defending division champs went to work immediately after dealing Hill, signing Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Jermaine Carter over the past two days.

Chiefs Eyeing Veteran Cornerbacks

The Chiefs are on the lookout for a cornerback. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Chiefs make a “move on a veteran corner in the coming weeks.” Specifically, Fowler has heard the Chiefs connected to free agent Stephon Gilmore and Giants cornerback James Bradberry, who could be released or traded.

Gilmore, 31, was traded midseason from New England to Carolina after a new deal with the Patriots couldn’t be worked out. In eight games in Charlotte, he registered two interceptions, helping him to a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl, the fifth of his career. Despite his impressive resume, the veteran still hasn’t found a home for next season. So far this offseason, Gilmore has only been definitively connected to the Raiders.

Many assumed that the Giants would trade or release the 28-year-old Bradberry before the new league year started last week. The veteran cornerback remains on the roster, but there’s still a chance the team moves on from him, as the Giants can realize more than $10MM in cap savings by cutting the defensive back. Despite a down year in 2021, Bradberry should still hold interest for cornerback-needy teams. He’s not too far removed from a Pro Bowl appearance in 2020, when he posted the lowest passer rating of any CB in the league, per PFF.

The Chiefs have already been active in reshuffling their secondary this offseason. The front office pivoted away from Tyrann Mathieu and replaced him with free agent safety Justin Reid.

Raiders Pursuing Stephon Gilmore

The Raiders don’t appear to be satisfied with the notable additions they’ve already made in recent days. Still in search of upgrades in the secondary, they are “making a run” at cornerback Stephon Gilmore, according to Vincent Bonsignore of The Las Vegas Review-Journal (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Raiders Acquire Adams From Packers]

The Raiders have made plenty of changes to their defense this offseason, most notably signing one of the top edge rushers on the market in Chandler Jones. Regarding the secondary, they’ve also traded for Rock Ya-Sin in a deal that sent Yannick Ngakoue back to the Colts, and signed former Raven Anthony Averett.

Still, Gilmore would add quite a bit of pedigree and experience to their CB room. The team still has plenty of cap space to work with, and any additions to their pass defense (which was mid-pack in 2021) considering the firepower which exists in their division would certainly be welcomed.

Gilmore, 31, was traded midseason from New England to Carolina after a new deal with the Patriots couldn’t be worked out. In eight games in Charlotte, he registered two interceptions, helping him to a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl, the fifth of his career. While the former Defensive Player of the Year called it a “dream come true” to play for the Panthers, it has long been expected he would at least test the open market.

Gilmore currently tops the list of available corners, which also includes the likes of Joe Haden, Patrick Peterson and fellow Panther Donte Jackson. If he ends up anywhere other than Vegas though, as Bonsignore states, “it won’t be for lack of trying”.

Jets To Sign CB D.J. Reed

After bypassing a dire need at cornerback last year, the Jets are diving in early. They are signing D.J. Reed, according to’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).

Reed will come over from the Seahawks — on a three-year deal worth $33MM (including $21MM guaranteed, per Jordan Schultz on Twitter) — but has experience with Robert Saleh. The 49ers drafted Reed in the 2018 fifth round. He played two seasons in San Francisco, providing some system intel as he rejoins Saleh in New York.

A torn pectoral muscle sustained in early August 2020 led Reed from the Bay Area to the Pacific Northwest. The 49ers waived Reed with an injury designation, and the Seahawks claimed him. Reed elevated his profile in Seattle, starting 22 games over the past two seasons in a similar defensive system to the one Saleh deployed with the 49ers. The 5-foot-9 corner intercepted four passes during his Seahawks stay and allowed a career-low 67.8 passer rating when targeted last season.

The Seahawks hoped to re-sign Reed, Jeremy Fowler of tweets, but did not want to go to the $11MM-per-year level to do so. Gang Green also had Darious Williams and Donte Jackson on its radar, but Rich Cimini of adds Stephon Gilmore was not (Twitter link).

As of now, Reed stands to step in as the Jets’ No. 1 cornerback. They used Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols as their primary starters last season, one in which Saleh’s defense ranked 32nd in both points and yards allowed.