Breaking: Panthers Set For Reunion With $65 Million CB Free Agent

Breaking: Panthers Set For Reunion With $65 Million CB Free Agent

The best available free agent cornerback is Stephon Gilmore, and a team is reportedly considering a reunion.

While the first wave of free agents has come to an end, certain well-known players, such Stephon Gilmore are still accessible. Gilmore’s market seems to be picking up steam. In 2017, Gilmore, who began his career with the Buffalo Bills, inked a five-year, $65 million contract with the New England Patriots. That trade was quickly validated by the former first-round selection, who twice was named to the First Team All-Pro and took home the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019.

In the last year of Stephon Gilmore’s contract, the Patriots dealt him to the Panthers following four productive years in New England. Despite playing in just nine games due to injury, the 31-year-old defensive back managed to get selected for the Pro Bowl. Although Stephon Gilmore was a free agent when he left Carolina, there have been rumors that he may return to the Panthers.

Joe Person of The Athletic reports that the Panthers have reached out to Stephon Gilmore in regards to a possible free agent signing. Even though a deal is not close to happening, Carolina’s new coaching staff thinks the 34-year-old cornerback still has something left in him.

Panthers Looking For Potential Free Agent Reunion With Stephon Gilmore

Although Stephon Gilmore is not the same player he was, the free agent is still a trustworthy starter. When targeted, the cornerback allowed a good 83.3 passer rating last season while finishing with an above-average 74.4 PFF grade. In Dallas, Gilmore was a key member of the dependable cornerback tandem that DaRon Bland stole the show.

Given that the Panthers won’t be in the playoffs in 2024, one could question why this franchise is pursuing an older free agent in Stephon Gilmore. But Carolina still needs more skill. Even with Brian Burns on the squad last year, the team’s defensive EPA/play allowed rank was 26th. Gilmore can enhance coverage and give players like D.J. Wonnum more time to get to the quarterback because there is a clear need for great pass rushers.

Of course, the Panthers won’t be the only team trying to sign Stephon Gilmore as a free agent. There are not enough good cornerbacks to go around, and players who interrupt an opposing passing game are a valuable commodity in today’s pass-happy NFL.

Other Possible Teams

Detroit Lions

From an on-field perspective alone, the fact that Cameron Sutton will not be joining the Detroit Lions in 2024 is arguably a positive thing. If this club wants to win the Super Bowl, they need another defensive back because the cornerback was among the worst in the league the previous season. This defense is a fantastic fit for Stephon Gilmore, a free agency who might be the final piece in Detroit’s championship puzzle.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs must strengthen their defense now that L’Jarius Sneed is a member of the Titans. Even though Trent McDuffie is an excellent cornerback, he is hardly an island. Stephon Gilmore is a trustworthy veteran free agent who might strengthen the secondary and make it a championship-caliber team. Gilmore most likely would prefer to pursue a second Super Bowl ring with a contender like the Chiefs, assuming that the money was equal.

New England Patriots

Reunions aside, the New England Patriots could use the addition of a cornerback. During his injury-shortened rookie season, Christian Gonzalez appeared to be a future star, but someone has to start opposite him. Jonathan Jones would be more effective in the position, while J.C. Jackson’s return to Foxboro was a complete bust. Stephon Gilmore is accustomed to the New England climate, even in the absence of Bill Belichick, and the free agent would be a terrific match for a club that will need to win on defense in 2024.

New Orleans Saints

The offensive firepower of the New Orleans Saints won’t allow them to win every game in a shootout. In light of this, they ought to concentrate on strengthening their defense in order to succeed as a complete football team. If Stephon Gilmore signs as a free agency, he can contribute to one of the better cornerback tandems in the game alongside Marshon Lattimore, who is still a talented player. Despite their recent slowdowns, both players are still above-average starters.

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