(Image credit Henry McKenna /USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
Like I said in my trade grade for CJ Henderson anything can happen in the NFL if it is on the field with an upset or off the field with a transaction made by the team. Especially now as news came out that the New England Patriots have traded CB Stephon Gilmore. It is a surprising trade for both the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers. So, in this article, I will analyze the trade with both parties involved and give my grade of the trade for both the Patriots and the Panthers.
New England Patriots Traded CB Stephon Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2023 6th round pick.
Now before I get into both parties' involvement many including myself were confused about how this trade was possible after the Patriots announced that they would be releasing Stephon Gilmore. Well, I did a little research and apparently, transactions in the NFL do not become official until 4 pm. So that is why the Patriots were allowed to trade Stephon Gilmore as they still technically had his rights contractually to trade him which makes a lot of sense. So that absolutely cleared up a ton of confusion that fans including myself had when hearing about this trade. Now that that is settled let's get into both parties' sides of this deal.
New England Patriots Side
I just don't understand it. First off I want to remind everyone that they were willing to let this guy go for nothing. Also, The Patriots declined trades for him during the last draft that involved a first-round pick during the 2021 NFL Draft and they decided to decline them. I don't understand why they couldn't obtain anything more for Gilmore. Gilmore is not a scrub cornerback he is an All-Pro Player that was regarded as one of the best cornerbacks still in the league. It is important to note that the Patriots could not come to a new contract dispute and that led to the team releasing Gilmore instead of keeping him for his final year in his contract to add to that strong defense that is lacking one more piece in that secondary. The only reason why I would not give a HACKENBURG (Failing) Grade to the New England Patriots is that at least they got something for a guy that they were going to release in the upcoming hours. That is the only positive thing about this trade I can say about on the New England Patriots Side.
Carolina Panthers Side
I thought that the Panthers trading for CJ Henderson would be a complete steal trade-wise for the Panthers. But General Manager Scott Fitterer strikes again after news came out that the Panthers have acquired Stephon Gilmore. Of course, the Panthers would offer a trade especially for a talented player like Gilmore is. The fact that the team only sacrificed a 6th round pick in next year's draft to acquire the services of Gilmore is an absolute steal. The Panthers couldn't get Gilmore if he officially hit free agency as he was already being recruited by teams like the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now Gilmore’s contract is a bit of an issue but the good news is that this is the final year of his contract.
I want to name the list of Cornerbacks currently on the Panthers Roster CB Jaycee Horn, CB CJ Henderson, CB Rashaan Melvin, CB AJ Bouye, and CB Donte Jackson. Cornerback was not a weakness at all for the Carolina Panthers. Now add Stephon Gilmore to this list and if they are healthy this will be a scary secondary on this already stacked defense that wide receivers will have to face in future games. Especially when Jaycee Horn gets healthier if he comes back to play this season. Especially if the Panthers wanted a chance to win the division and beat the Buccaneers they had to load up the depth at secondary in order to have a chance against Tampa Bay. It is clear that the Panthers want to push for a deep playoff push and I feel that this move brought them closer to that goal. Excellent work by GM Scott Fitterer and I am excited to see what other moves he makes during the upcoming trade deadline Week 8.
Grades for the Stephone Gilmore Trade
New England Patriots: D-
Carolina Panthers: A+
No question the Carolina Panthers easily win this trade and if Gilmore doesn't work then they can just not resign him when his contract expires and he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.