Panthers acquire Stephon Gilmore from Patriots in exchange for draft pick

The Panthers acquired Gilmore, the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year and four-time Pro Bowler, in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round draft pick, the team announced on its website

PATRIOTS, VETERAN CORNERBACK STEPHON GILMORE ‘MUTUALLY AGREED’ TO PART WAYS AFTER 5 SEASONS

Bill Belichick released a statement earlier saying the decision to release Gilmore was “mutually agreed” on but the Panthers brokered a deal before the veteran cornerback was able to hit the free agency market. 

Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) intercepts a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks (12) in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) intercepts a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks (12) in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

“I am grateful to Stephon Gilmore for his significant contributions to our team,” his statement read. “It was a privilege and pleasure to coach Steph, I appreciate him for the true professional and class act that he is and wish him all the best in the future.” 

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Gilmore was entering his fifth season with the Patriots and was eligible to return from the Physically Unable to Play list after Week 6 but according to the NFL Network, he was unable to reach a new deal with the Patriots following surgery to repair a quadriceps injury.

Dec 10, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) tries to break free from New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 10, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) tries to break free from New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)

He signed a five-year, $ 65 million deal with the Patriots in 2017 but was reportedly looking for a new deal that made him among the top paid cornerbacks in the league. 

Oct 10, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) makes a catch in front of New York Giants tight end Garrett Dickerson (89) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 10, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) makes a catch in front of New York Giants tight end Garrett Dickerson (89) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

The Panthers will be on the hook for the remaining portion of Gilmore’s $ 7 million contract — about $ 5.4 million — but the team could look to give him a contract extension before the season is over if things go well. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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