You had a feeling this was coming, didn't you?
Shortly after the New England Patriots surprisingly released star cornerback Stephon Gilmore on Wednesday morning, NFL reporter Josina Anderson reported the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are among the teams that "will definitely investigate" Gilmore's availability in free agency.
Our Phil Perry also pointed to the Bucs and Kansas City Chiefs as potential landing spots for Gilmore.
Tampa Bay's reported interest isn't surprising: Bucs quarterback Tom Brady is well aware of Gilmore's talents from their three seasons together in New England, and the Bucs are desperate for cornerback help. Two of Tampa Bay's top three cornerbacks -- Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jemel Dean -- didn't play in the team's Week 4 win over the Patriots, while the third, Carlton Davis, was carted off with a quad injury during that game.
The Bucs relied on Richard Sherman and Pierre Desir at cornerback for the rest of the game, but both players were making their Bucs debuts, so they could use more veteran talent to bolster a secondary that's allowed the most passing yards in the NFL through four games.
Gilmore began the 2021 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a quad injury and hasn't played since Week 14 of the 2020 season. According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, however, he should be ready to play when he returns from the PUP list in Week 6. The 32-year-old is just two seasons removed from winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 and was a First-Team All-Pro in 2018 and 2019.
The Green Bay Packers also are expected to show interest in Gilmore, Pro Football Focus' Doug Kyed reports, while the Dallas Cowboys also make sense as a possible destination. Either way, it doesn't sound like Gilmore will be out of a job for long after leaving New England.