New England Patriots: Stephon Gilmore is best of the best

New England Patriots Stephon Gilmore (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
New England Patriots Stephon Gilmore (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) /

Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots is maybe the best cornerback in the NFL today.

Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots has been with the team for three seasons. And during that time, he has emerged as probably the best cornerback in the National Football League. In addition, he is one of the best free-agent signings of the Bill Belichick era in New England.

Gilmore will be entering his 9th season in the league and will be 30 years old in September. He has been with the Patriots since the 2017 season and has equaled or exceeded expectations upon signing a 5-year contract.

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This was a huge contract in New England terms. He received a whopping $40 million guaranteed in the deal he signed with an $18 million signing bonus.

And Gilmore is well on his way to earning every penny of that contract, and then some. He’s been great.

Gilmore good in Buffalo

Gilmore was a first-round pick (10th overall) of the Buffalo Bills in 2012 out of South Carolina. That was a high acknowledgment of Gilmore’s ability and potential.

Gilmore spent 5 years in Buffalo. He had 4 solid seasons and then a breakout season in 2016. In his final season in Buffalo, he logged 48 tackles and 5 interceptions.

Gilmore also made his first Pro Bowl that season. Certainly, that season must have convinced Belichick that a major free agency investment was justifiable and advisable.

Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots star

Gilmore struggled somewhat in his first season in New England as he acclimated himself to a new home, a new team, and a new defensive system. In his second and third season, however, he excelled. Gilmore notched Pro Bowl honors in both 2018 and 2019.

In addition, he also collected the even more prestigious Associated Press first-team All-Pro designation in 2018. He thereby fully justified the faith that Belichick had put in him in offering him that monster contract.

In 2019, he took his game to an even higher level. Last season, not only was he again named a first-team Associated Press All-Pro, but was one of three players unanimously named that high honor.

Gilmore is now widely acknowledged as the best cornerback in the National Football League. Who’s to argue that fact? Together with emerging star J.C. Jackson, he forms one of the most, if not the most talented and effective cornerback tandems in the league.

With Gilmore anchoring the left side, and Jackson and Jason McCourty the right and slot, the Patriots cornerback situation is in great hands in 2020.

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Without a doubt, signing Gilmore was one of Belichick’s best personnel moves during his long tenure in New England. Expect him to continue to excel in the final two years of his contract that winds up after the 2021 season. That what he does.