Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore is still hampered by a knee injury.
Then again, would it have really mattered? Stephon Gilmore was the main trade piece being discussed, and he hasn’t been on the field since the team’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers, so it’s not like things would’ve been unrecognizable or fully torn down if the All-Pro had departed.
And when you think about it, perhaps the Patriots already knew that, which is why Gilmore was reportedly involved in trade talks dating back to before the 2020 NFL Draft … so … did his injury this time around drastically affect his trade value to the point where Belichick didn’t deem a deal worth it?
Gilmore is still limited in practice with his knee issue, which now puts us in week four of his ailment. The trade deadline came right after the narrow loss the Buffalo in which Gilmore didn’t play, which likely had teams hesitant, especially with the reported asking price attached to the cornerback (it was said Belichick wanted a player AND a first-round pick).
Though the selling point should have no doubt been, “Hey, you’ll have Gilmore for down the stretch, the postseason AND 2021,” maybe his knee injury wasn’t enough for that pitch to get the job done. And it makes sense, because there’s a chance Gilmore misses his fourth straight game this week in Houston.
Based on the Patriots’ performance with him in the starting lineup, his presence on the team doesn’t entirely make a groundbreaking difference. The linebacking corps is lacking so badly that it’s drastically affecting the performance of the secondary. The defensive line is serviceable, but when you’re missing your defensive captain in Dont’a Hightower and have yet to find a semblance of a solution, it doesn’t really matter who else is on the field, unless the other 10 players are All-Pros.
Given Gilmore’s latest injury update, especially after many figured he’d be out of the woods at this point, it’s hard not to assume that his knee issue drove down his return price in a trade, which is why he’s still in Foxborough right now.