UPDATE: The Patriots are trading Gilmore to the Panthers.
UPDATE: The Patriots are releasing Gilmore a week before he is eligible to come off the PUP list.
The New England Patriots will be without their best defensive player for the first six weeks, as cornerback Stephon Gilmore has been placed on the physically unable to play list, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Gilmore has been in a well-publicized contract dispute with the Patriots, but going on the PUP list is due to surgery to repair a torn quad he suffered in Week 15 of last season.
Gilmore skipped mandatory minicamp earlier this offseason in hopes of pushing for a new contract, but has been in the building during training camp and according to teammates, has been a positive presence. The Patriots cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino said, “I joked about him being ‘Coach Steph.’ He’s been great working with the guys, being in the room, communicating, not being quiet. So he’s been top notch all the way through this,” per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
Gilmore won’t be there when the prodigal son Tom Brady returns to New England in Week 3. While he is out, cornerback J.C. Jackson will serve as the Patriots best corner and Jalen Mills will line up opposite him. But Gilmore’s absence leaves a big hole in the secondary, which will likely be tested early and often.