Gilmore trade good for both sides

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Oct. 6—Stephon Gilmore wanted a big raise in 2021 and an even bigger raise in 2022 to remain the CB1 (shutdown cornerback) of the New England Patriots.

That was never going to happen. And the stalemate would've lasted forever, or really two more weeks, if not for Week 6 deadline of Gilmore coming off the six-game mandatory injured reserve.

A lot of people were mad last week, most at Bill Belichick, for letting Tom Brady basically walk to Tampa Bay. It wasn't enough to change allegiances, but they were mad.

The Gilmore good-bye doesn't exude as much emotion.

That's because we know the deal here: Belichick basically isn't paying above market prices for any position, particularly for older players.

Gilmore has "brothers" who have left New England through the same door, over money: Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Deion Branch, Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour, Logan Mankins, Jamie Collins and Aqib Talib, to name a famous few.

Gilmore, like most of those aforementioned guys, lives here only to play football. He was using the Patriots to better this stock.

And he did. He literally became a Pro Football Hall of Famer by coming to New England, adding two Super Bowl berths, a Super Bowl title and a Defensive Player of the Year Award.

And the usually quiet Gilmore, on and off the field, made more noise off the field over the last year. His wife and college sweetheart, Gabrielle, became vocal on social media, too, over the last year about her husband's status, etc.

He got what he wanted here, which included about $65 million, which at the time he signed, was one of the richest contracts for a defensive back.

As the awards came so did the demands/pay raises. Turning 31 in September, he understood the well will run dry real soon for athletes that depend on their athleticism in their mid-30s.

Unlike some other ex-Patriots, Gilmore has no interest in an ESPN gig. The Patriot Way and Patriots Hall of Fame just don't mean as much to some guys, which is his prerogative.

The Patriots used Gilmore, too. He was worth every penny, despite some criticisms in his first year that Belichick overpaid for the ex-Bills star.

He was a stalwart in the Patriots 13-3 win over the Rams nearly three years ago, clinching the win with an interception off Jarad Goff.

He had a lot of other big matchups and big plays, including another game-clinching interception in the come-from-behind win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship in his first year.

Are the Patriots better off without a semi-healthy Gilmore? As crazy as this sounds, probably yes.

Having disgruntled players around, especially really good ones, can be a distraction and get this team off its "Patriot Way" track.

Players have the right to make the most money they can. This is a tough, tough business on and off the field.

But that isn't going to happen here, especially with Belichick pulling the purse strings.

It was a good relationship while it lasted. Gilmore, a native of South Carolina, gets to possibly end his career, with a new deal with the Charlotte, N.C.-based Panthers.

The Patriots and Belichick get a little more wiggle room in rebuilding.

It sounds like a win-win to me. It also sounds like it was also inevitable.

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.

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