According to numerous reports, including Adam Schefter of ESPN, the New England Patriots are signing former Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a deal. The terms of the deal are currently undisclosed, but is said to be worth around $14 million per year.
Gilmore, 26, was the former 10th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft out of South Carolina, and has spent the past five seasons in Buffalo. Gilmore quickly became one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and one of the biggest defensive problems the Patriots faced in the AFC East.
Gilmore now joins the defending champions, bringing 197 tackles and 14 interceptions over 68 career games.
The Patriots had operated with a cornerback tandem of Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan, but both are currently free agents. The signing of Gilmore likely means that the Patriots will move on from Ryan.
New England has already placed a first round tender on Butler, making it extremely likely that he does not move unless he is dealt. There have been rumors swirling that he could be involved in a trade for New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks, but so far no deal is finalized.
Gilmore immediately makes the Patriots, one of the best defensive back cores in the NFL, while also securing a long-term plan at the position. The Bills will now be active on the free agent market as they try to replace one of their most impactful defensive players.
It is surprising that the Patriots were able to outbid other teams, as they are generally placed out of high price free agents. Nevertheless, the defending champions have already improved a talented defensive core.