Stephon Gilmore is away for the summer, but he's not planning on a permanent vacation.
The Patriots cornerback took his financial differences with New England public Wednesday when he not-so-subtly tweeted his frustration about not being one of the 10 highest-paid corners in the league.
Gilmore, who's set to make $7 million in base salary this season on the final year of his contract, didn't attend mandatory minicamp, and it's possible he could continue his holdout into training camp.
That could force the Patriots to either give their star cornerback a raise, deal with his continued absence or trade him. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Gilmore isn't expecting the third option.
"The Patriots and Gilmore know they can intensify contract talks sometime in the next few weeks. And I'm told that Gilmore has largely not expected to be traded throughout this process because he knows the Patriots have made moves with Gilmore in mind," Fowler said Thursday on "SportsCenter," as transcribed by Bleacher Report.
"They haven't gotten a cornerback to replace him. And as one source told me, 'Do the Patriots really want to go into Week 4 against Tom Brady without their top cornerback?' And so things are slow right now, but I expect those sides to ramp up negotiations sometime before training camp."
Gilmore wasn't a First-Team All-Pro last season after making the team in 2018 and 2019, but the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year is still the No. 1 cornerback on a depth chart that includes J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, and newcomer Jalen Mills.
The Patriots signaled they're all-in this season by paying big money to free agents on both sides of the ball, and trading Gilmore would be a departure from that mindset. Gilmore knows this, which is why he's holding out to try to gain some leverage.
As our Phil Perry pointed out, though, the 30-year-old would be subject to increasingly steep fines if he misses training camp practices or preseason games. So, the best scenario for both sides would be to hammer out a reworked contract for Gilmore before training camp begins at the end of the month.