The New England Patriots’ best defensive player is not at mandatory minicamp, according to multiple reports.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, whose contract status has been a matter of some conjecture in recent years, was not present at the start of Monday’s minicamp. Attendance for players under contract is required for the three sessions this week.
Gilmore, who turns 31 in September, has one year remaining on his five-year, $65 million deal, set to earn $7 million in base salary — clearly on the low side for a player of his caliber.
Even coming off a season that was not his best and following quadriceps surgery this offseason, Gilmore reportedly wants a new deal. He struggled early last season, suffered through knee and quad injuries and had only one interception in 2020.
Stephon Gilmore was not seen on the first day of the New England Patriots’ mandatory minicamp. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Is Bill Belichick covering for Stephon Gilmore?
But Patriots head coach Bill Belichick didn’t make it seem like all Patriots players might have gotten in on time because of logistical hangups. Or it’s possible he’s running cover for his star corner.
“Just the travel arrangements over the weekend, so not sure exactly … how all of it worked out,” Belichick said. “We were close on a couple guys this morning. But, you know, we’ll catch up on that after we get done here and see where we’re at.
“Today’s the first day, they just got in here a little while ago. I’m not sure if everybody is here. We didn’t take attendance at the meeting. But we’ll find out who’s here and who isn’t soon enough. That includes the players that were here last week and the players that weren’t here last week and everything else.”
Gilmore skipped the voluntary phase of the offseason, and Belichick did say he expected some who missed some of those sessions to attend this week (but did not single out Gilmore in that regard).
News of Gilmore’s absence broke following Belichick’s availability. Gilmore could be subject to daily fines of $31,030 per missed day — for a possible three-day sum of $93,085.
The Patriots pushed $4.5 million of his 2021 base salary into his 2020 contract, which followed his Defensive Player of the Year campaign in 2019.
There were rumors of Gilmore being available by trade early this offseason, but those seemed to fade quickly.
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