|Stephon Gilmore ‘would love to team up’ with Malcolm Butler in Patriots secondary||03.13.17 at 3:20 pm ET|
The Patriots could have one of, if not the best cornerback tandem in football next season with Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler.
Gilmore signed a five-year deal with the Patriots last week at the start of free agency, but things are a bit unclear with Butler.
The 27-year-old is a restricted free agent and since the Patriots placed a first-round tender on him is set to make $3.91 million this season. Butler hasn’t signed the deal, and is reportedly upset about his salary, especially considering the Patriots are paying Gilmore $13 million per season.
There’s a chance a team places an offer sheet on Butler, or the Patriots trade him, so there’s no guarantee he plays with them next season.
Speaking on a conference call Monday, Gilmore sounded like he hopes to get the chance to be able to play alongside Butler.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with that, but I’m looking forward to it,” Gilmore said. “He’s a great player. He’s made a lot of good plays in the league. So I would love to team up with him and play with him.”
The former Bills corner has always been a fan of Butler’s game, especially his story of being an undrafted free agent to making the game-winning play in Super Bowl XLIX.
“Obviously, he came in the league undrafted, so he came in and grinded his way up to the top,” Gilmore said. “And he’s made a lot of good plays in the league, so you’ve got to respect him as a player. He’s made a lot of great plays on big stages. I definitely respect him as a player.
“Playing in this league, you’ve got to have a strong mentality playing at the corner position, and I think he has that. He has that fight in him. That’s one thing that sticks out from watching him. He always comes back. If you get him, he always puts it behind him and makes plays the next play.”
Gilmore said Chris Hogan and Devin McCourty have already reached out and have welcomed him with “open arms.”
The No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 draft said he’s willing to help the Patriots in any way he can, but would describe himself as mostly a man-to-man cornerback.
“I think a strong part of my game is just being physical at the line of scrimmage and playing a lot of man-to-man coverage,” Gilmore said. “I’m just ready to do whatever the coaches want me to do to make the team better. I’m down for whatever challenge they want me in. I think me just pressing at the line of scrimmage and making plays on the football, that’s my strongest point of my game.”
It was an exciting week last week for new Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
The 26-year-old signed a five-year, $65 million deal with the Patriots and 45 minutes after getting back from Foxboro, his wife gave birth to their second child.
The name is very familiar to Patriots fans, but there was good meaning behind it.
“I actually named her Gisele Sienna Gilmore,” Gilmore said on a conference call Monday. “My wife’s name is Gabrielle, so we thought of a ‘G’ name and we picked Gisele. She was seven pounds, eight ounces. I don’t know how long she was, but it was a blessing when she came into this world.”
Gisele is their second child, as they have a son named Stephon Sebastian, who turns two in April.
“A boy and a girl, so I have the best of both worlds,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore came from the Bills where he totaled 14 interceptions in his five years with the team after being drafted No. 10 overall in the 2012 draft.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Details of Stephon Gilmore’s contract with Patriots emerge||03.09.17 at 4:11 pm ET|
The Patriots must really like Stephon Gilmore.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Gilmore’s contract with the Patriots is for five years and $65 million with $40 million guaranteed.
This is a ton of money by Patriots standards.
He’s played his first five years in the league with the Bills after being the No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft out of South Carolina. In his career, Gilmore has 13 interceptions in 52 games.
Gilmore’s signing also is likely connected to Malcolm Butler and it’s worth wondering if Butler was seeking more than the $13 million per year Gilmore is getting.
The Patriots reportedly have been discussing an extension with Butler since last offseason, but haven’t been close to a deal.
For more on Butler’s future, click here.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Patriots pay top dollar for players. They’re just selective about who they hand their money to.
Two years ago, the Patriots signed Devin McCourty to a five-year, $47.5 million contract with $28.5 million guaranteed, more than any other safety in the league at the time. They also once made Logan Mankins the highest-paid guard in the NFL and Vince Wilfork the highest-paid nose tackle. All three of those players were drafted and developed by New England, earning their paydays after years of work with the organization. So it’s not unusual to see the Patriots shell out big bucks to sign elite talent. But it’s peculiar to see them do it on the first day of free agency, especially to acquire somebody who’s never played under Bill Belichick.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots have inked former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million deal with $40 million guaranteed. That’s the most guaranteed money the Patriots have ever given a defensive player by more than $11 million. With a $13 million yearly salary, Gilmore is now in the same financial neighborhood as Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman, Trumaine Johnson, Josh Norman and Joe Haden –– all of whom make more than $12 million annually.
On paper, Gilmore’s resume is exemplary. As the No. 10 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, he came into the league with high expectations. Gilmore grew into a No. 1 corner with the Bills, snatching five interceptions last season to earn his first ever Pro Bowl appearance. At 26 years old, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back appears ready to break out.
But there are concerning signs if you look deeper into the numbers. Gilmore played an abysmal first half of the season in 2016, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 82nd among cornerbacks. Perhaps his low point came in Week 8 against the Patriots, when the Bills’ secondary allowed Tom Brady to throw for 315 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-25 whooping.
The last time the Patriots plucked a big-ticket cornerback off the open market was Darrelle Revis in 2014, but he was signed to a glorified one-year deal. New England failed to exercise his exorbitant $20 million option in 2015, letting him return to the Jets. Coming off an injury-riddled season with the Buccaneers, Revis was a value signing. The same can’t be said for Gilmore, who’s now getting paid like a perennial Pro Bowler. It seems as if the Patriots have decided to hitch the future of their secondary on him.
With Gilmore signed for the next five years, Malcolm Butler’s future is now in question. He was recently slapped with a first-round tender, which means if he can’t work out a long-term deal with the Patriots, he’ll make $3.91 million next season. It’s a substantial raise from his $600,000 salary in 2016, but far below Gilmore’s value.
Butler, 27, profiles as the perfect Patriot. The undrafted rookie out of West Alabama was the hero in Super Bowl XLIX, snatching the game-winning interception on the goal line. Since then, he’s developed into a legitimate No. 1 corner. Last season, Butler broke up 12 passes and had nine games in which he allowed two or fewer completions. He also surrendered fewer than 20 receiving yards seven times.
With that kind of progression, Butler seemed to be a prime candidate for a long-term extension this offseason. But with Gilmore now on board, he’ll probably seek a similar contract. It’s difficult to see the Patriots allocating that kind of money to one position.
Since no NFL team has surrendered a first-round pick for a restricted free agent since 2003, it’s possible Butler will be back with the team next season. The Patriots are reportedly considering sending him to the Saints for wideout Brandin Cooks, but it’s rare to see trades of that magnitude come to fruition.
If Butler sticks around next season, the Patriots could have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league. But it seems as if his time in New England is coming to an end. The Gilmore acquisition is a bizarre move for a franchise that traditionally prefers to give big contracts to its own guys.
|Bills players say they’ll retaliate if Patriots players run through warmup drills again||10.26.16 at 3:49 pm ET|
Prior to the Week 4 meeting between the Patriots and Bills, there was a dust-up between the two teams.
During pregame warmups, Jacoby Brissett and Malcolm Mitchell ran on to the field and on to the Bills’ side while they were warming up. The Bills’ secondary wasn’t pleased and shoved Brissett and then Mitchell came to his defense.
Several players and coaches got involved and multiple Bills players were fined for their roles, which included even shoving Patriots coaches.
The Bills players say they won’t hesitate to retaliate if it happens again Sunday in Orchard Park.
“Of course,” cornerback Stephon Gilmore told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re not gonna let nobody push us around. We gotta play smart. We know their guys like to try to get under your skin and make you react a certain way.”
Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman agreed with Gilmore and said he would be comfortable with getting fined again.
While on Wednesday the Patriots said they have moved on, the day after the last meeting, it seemed like it was something they wouldn’t forget.
“It pissed me off to tell you the truth,” wide receiver Danny Amendola told Ordway, Merloni & Fauria. “I’m not going to forget about that.”
Certainly come Sunday around noon when the Patriots take the field, it will be something to watch.
|5 things to know about Bills: Buffalo’s fortunes tied to health of RB LeSean McCoy||10.25.16 at 11:12 am ET|
Five things you have to know about the Bills, who will host the Patriots Sunday at New Era Field.
1. They run the ball better than almost anyone else in the league. It remains to be seen just how impactful LeSean McCoy’s hamstring issue is going to be — he left last Sunday’s game against Miami after re-aggravating the injury — but when McCoy is right, the Bills have one of the best running games in the NFL. They average 152.3 rushing yards per contest, the second-best total in the league behind the Cowboys (161.2). McCoy leads the team with 112 carries, 598 yards and six touchdowns. (The 5.3 yards per carry is second in the league.) Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has 41 carries for 271 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Buffalo topped the 100-yard rushing plateau four times in its first seven games of the season, including 134 in the first meeting with the Patriots and (Are we sure this isn’t a misprint?) 313 yards on the ground against the Niners. The key to everything? McCoy, who is as dynamic a back as you’ll find. His health will certainly bear watching over the course of the week. There was plenty of debate surrounding the wisdom of having him try to play against the Dolphins. If Rex Ryan blew him out against Miami and isn’t available for this week’s showdown with the Patriots, the folks in upstate New York won’t be happy.
2. They struggle in the passing game. Taylor has made real gains under center over the last year, but the bottom line is that, at least statistically, he’s no better than a middle-of-the-road quarterback. In seven games, he’s completed 60 percent of his passes (116-for-192) for 1,297 yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 91.9. When he throws it, he’s going to look for wide receiver Robert Woods (25 catches on 37 targets, 240 yards, 1 TD), tight end Charles Clay (24 catches, 36 targets, 268 yards), McCoy (20 catches, 23 targets, 97 yards, 1 TD) and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (12 catches, 32 targets, 258 yards, 3 TDs). At 21.5 yards per catch, Goodwin is the closest thing to a true deep threat/home-run hitter the Bills have, at least until Sammy Watkins comes back from his foot injury.
3. They’ve been really good at turnover ratio. The Bills are good at taking care of the football, and also good at taking it away. Buffalo is second in the league when it comes to turnover rate at plus-eight, trailing only the Vikings (plus-11). Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Nickell Robey-Coleman have two interceptions each, while linebacker Preston Brown has two fumble recoveries and Lorenzo Alexander has three forced fumbles. On the other side of the ball, while Taylor isn’t overwhelming on offense, only three other teams have thrown fewer picks this season than the Bills (New England, Dallas and Minnesota).
|Bills CB Stephon Gilmore: We have game plan to take Rob Gronkowski out of game||11.19.15 at 10:25 am ET|
In the Week 2 meeting between the Patriots and Bills, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown, but according to Bills cornerbacker Stephon Gilmore things will be different Monday night in the second meeting of the year.
“We got a game plan to take him out of the game,” Gilmore said via ESPN. “We’re gonna be ready for him.”
In eight career games against the Bills, Gronkowski has caught 44 passes for 656 yards and 10 touchdowns, the most against any other team.
Gilmore noticed what the Giants were doing Sunday against the Patriots, noting they had some success in getting to the Patriots’ quarterback.
“They [were] getting to him,” Gilmore said. “They [were] getting to Tom Brady, getting him off his spot. They [were] sacking him and they are playing tight coverage on the back end. So first all of you have to get to him to make him mess up.”
Tom Brady is 24-3 against the Bills and is 66-16 against the AFC East.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
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