Stephon Gilmore was expected to give the New England Patriots a boost when he returned from the Physically Unable to Perform list in Week 6.
Instead, he's out of a job.
The Patriots surprisingly traded the star cornerback Wednesday after he and the team reportedly couldn't come to terms on a restructured contract.
Gilmore has yet to play a snap in 2021, but he's been a key cog in New England's defense who snagged the game-clinching interception in Super Bowl LIII and won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019.
After Gilmore confirmed his exit Wednesday morning in a statement on Instagram, several Patriots players showed their appreciation for the 32-year-old cornerback in the comment section. Also chiming in was star wide receiver Davante Adams, whose Green Bay Packers were reported to have interest in Gilmore.
That's offensive tackle Trent Brown, running backs James White and Damien Harris, ex-Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson, retired safety Patrick Chung and Adams all reacting to Gilmore's release. Patriots linebacker Anfernee Jennings also commented his support for Gilmore ("Love bro ✊🏾").
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown appeared to express some disdain for the Patriots, commenting "Insane" on Gilmore's Instagram post. Brown was cut by New England in 2019 amid allegations of sexual and personal misconduct.
Gilmore reportedly was disappointed he and the Patriots couldn't find common ground in contract discussions, and his ex-teammates likely aren't thrilled about losing one of their top defensive players from the last four seasons.
New England does have the NFL's fourth-best pass defense through four games, however, so if the team can use some of its newfound cap space to improve in other areas (like the offensive line), it may help the Patriots bounce back from a 1-3 start.