Patriots

Report: Stephon Gilmore skipping minicamp amid contract rumors

Patriots

The New England Patriots are holding mandatory minicamp this week without their star cornerback, it appears.

Stephon Gilmore will sit out the Patriots' three minicamp sessions at Gillette Stadium, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Monday.

Head coach Bill Belichick referenced weather impacting some players' travel arrangements in his video conference Monday morning, but The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported Gilmore's absence is "not weather related."'

Curran: What Patriots passing on Julio Jones means for Gilmore

It's more likely that Gilmore's absence is contract-related. The 30-year-old cornerback, who will become a free agent after this season, enters 2021 with a $16.3 million cap hit but just a $7 million base salary that's well below other elite cornerbacks in the league.

So, it's possible that Gilmore is holding out for a new contract. ESPN's Mike Reiss noted Sunday that skipping minicamp is often a "first leverage point" for players seeking to negotiate a better deal.

New England's minicamp sessions run from Monday to Wednesday, then players won't return until training camp in late July. Whether the Patriots and Gilmore work out their differences before then remains to be seen.