Report: Patriots release CB Stephon Gilmore in surprise move

The New England Patriots have released All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

A stunner: Patriots are releasing four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who was eligible to come off the Physically Unable to Perform List after Week 6, source tells ESPN.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 6, 2021

The move is surprising, but not entirely shocking. There's been tension brewing between Gilmore and the Pats for quite some time now. 

Gilmore, 31, has been dealing with a quad injury since the 2020 season. He played just 11 games last year, and entered the 2021 season dissatisfied with his contract situation. His base salary was around $7 million, which is about half of what cornerbacks of his talent level are making. Gilmore and the Patriots weren't able to come to a resolution, so he sat out mandatory minicamp in June and was fined $94,000.

Still unable to come to an agreement, the Pats placed Gilmore on the physically unable to perform list a month later when he reported for training camp. 

The #Patriots were open to giving Stephon Gilmore a raise, but wanted to see him healthy. Instead, he went on the PUP list as he recovers from his quad injury. That tension lasted… until his release today.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2021

Gilmore, a three-time All-Pro and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, emblazoned himself on the hearts of New England fans everywhere when he intercepted Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff late in Super Bowl LIII, sealing the Patriots' eventual 13-3 win. 

Gilmore should have no problem finding a new team. He's expected be recovered from his quad injury in the next few weeks, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are already being mentioned as a possible next destination. That's where Gilmore's former teammate, Tom Brady, plays, and where several Patriots castoffs have found a new home. 

I'm told just now that the Tampa Bay #Bucs are at least one team that 'will definitely investigate,' CB Stephon Gilmore's availability, per league source.

— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) October 6, 2021

Gilmore says goodbye to New England

Gilmore posted a note on Instagram, saying goodbye and thank you to Patriots fans and team owner Robert Kraft.>View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Stephon Gilmore (@bumpnrungilmore)

Missing from Gilmore's goodbye note? Any mention of head coach Bill Belichick. 

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