The Patriots traded Stephon Gilmore to the Panthers on Wednesday, letting the 31-year-old Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback go as he continues to rehab a quad injury that has limited him to start the season. Gilmore won't be able to face the Eagles in Week 5 as he remains on the PUP list.
Gilmore was in the final year of his deal, so it's not surprising to see Bill Belichick cut the veteran loose.
The inevitable "should the Eagles go after Gilmore?" question sprung up on social media when news of the Patriots' desire to let Gilmore play elsewhere, as is always the case when a high-profile player becomes available.
But according to a former Eagles coach, the Birds' front office had the same idea... a year ago.
Ex-Eagles assistant linebackers coach Ryan Paganetti, who left the team after Doug Pederson was let go earlier this year, said in a tweet Wednesday that the Eagles and Patriots had talks about sending Gilmore to Philadelphia in exchange for... Zach Ertz!
That would've been quite a blockbuster!
If your memory serves you (and it's okay if it doesn't; it's been a painfully long last 20 months), Ertz's 2020 was filled with trade rumors and rumblings. Would they move him by the trade deadline? Would he make it to the end of the season? The Packers and Ravens reportedly made offers at last season's trade deadline, but Ertz remained an Eagle... and then somehow survived to this season, where he's still playing with the Birds.
But he was nearly up in New England, apparently, until Howie Roseman & Co. walked it back and hung on to the Eagles legend.
That certainly adds an extra layer of context to the exchange Ertz and Belichick had at the Eagles' and Patriots' joint practices this past August.
Belichick joked with Ertz after a practice about still wanting to make Ertz a Patriot one day, per 6ABC's Jamie Apody:
"Coach to Ertz 'I’m still going to get you some day.' Ertz with a smile. Belichick responds 'But Howie wants 2 first round picks. AND 2 of my grandchildren!'"
It doesn't sound like the price was quite as high as Belichick said, but Gilmore is indeed an elite corner when healthy. I wonder why Roseman and the front office walked it back. Perhaps they were worried about trading an all-time Eagle.
Hard to blame them, even if Gilmore would've been a nice get.
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