NFL rumors: Could Patriots trade Stephon Gilmore to move into top 10?

/ by Nick Goss
Presented By John's Sewer

If the New England Patriots want to move up in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and secure a top 10 pick, it's probably going to cost them quite a bit. 

The San Francisco 49ers traded with the Miami Dolphins to acquire the No. 3 overall pick for three first-rounders (No. 12 in 2021, plus 2022 and 2023 selections) and a 2021 third-round pick. The Dolphins acquired No. 6 overall and a 2021 fifth-rounder from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for two first-round picks (No. 12 in 2021 and a 2022 selection) and fourth-round pick.

If the Patriots don't want to give up an extra first-round pick to move up from No. 15 overall, maybe including former All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore could help get a deal done.

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ESPN's Dianna Russini talked about this scenario during ESPN show "Get Up!" on Tuesday morning.

"Something to keep in mind, and it's a small little storyline to keep an eye on -- Stephon Gilmore is in the final year of his five-year contract with the New England Patriots. He's making about $7 million this season.

"The New England Patriots could perhaps deal Stephon Gilmore on draft night as part of a package to move up if they are in the business of getting a quarterback. I did speak to a team in the top 10 who told me that they've had calls with New England."


Teams in the top 10 that need a cornerback include the Carolina Panthers (No. 8 overall pick) and Dallas Cowboys (No. 10 pick).

If the Patriots traded Gilmore, that would leave J.C. Jackson as the team's No. 1 cornerback. You could argue that, despite finishing No. 2 in the league with nine interceptions last season, that Jackson is not yet ready for that role. He did struggle at times in 2020 as the No. 1 cornerback when Gilmore was out of the lineup.

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Behind Jackson at cornerback would be Jonathan Jones, JoeJuan Williams and Myles Bryant, among others. Free-agent signing Jalen Mills could also get snaps at this position. Veteran cornerback Jason McCourty remains an unrestricted free agent.

So, if the Patriots did trade Gilmore in an effort to move up for one of the top five quarterback prospects in this year's class, selecting a cornerback later in the draft should be a no-brainer. In fact, it's probably a smart move even if Gilmore stays with the team.

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Our own Patriots insider Phil Perry projects the Patriots taking Minnesota cornerback Benjamin St-Juste in the third around and Texas Tech cornerback Zech McPhearson in the sixth round of his latest 2021 mock draft.

It's unknown what the future holds for Gilmore in New England with one more year left on his contract. Given his low salary and top-tier talent, he is an intriguing trade chip for the Patriots to use if they are serious about moving up in Round 1 on Thursday night.