There are a plethora of veteran players that have been linked to the Cleveland Browns this offseason via free agency or trade, and according to Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger, you can add New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore to that list.
Spielberger wrote about 10 realistic trades that could happen around the NFL this offseason and one of those trades was the Browns trading a 2021 third-round pick (No. 89 overall) and a 2022 sixth-round pick for the talented cornerback.
Cleveland would be responsible for a little over $7 million should they land Gilmore this season, who will be in the final year of his five-year deal he signed in 2017. The Browns are estimated to have around $27-29 million in cap space this offseason according to spotrac.com.
Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry will have to figure out if he can sign Gilmore to some sort of extension, should this trade be pulled off. The reason the extension would need to happen is the fact the Browns wouldn’t want to give up that draft capital for a one-year rental. Berry said he wants to be “deep” at cornerback and this would be one of the routes he could go.
There are a couple of issues that could come into play if this trade scenario pans out for the Browns. First, Gilmore is 31-years old and is coming off a season in which he missed five games due to injury. Second, the Browns have Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams at corner already, but all three play the outside cornerback position.
Ward is likely going to have his fifth-year option picked up by the May 3 deadline and then extension talks can be had. Williams is a mystery for the Browns, as he missed the entire 2020 season with a nerve issue in his shoulder. If Gilmore gets traded for, someone would have to move to the inside slot position. Gilmore has been as good as anyone in the league in the slot, ranking sixth overall since 2018 with at least 200 snaps. Opposing quarterbacks completed 54.5 percent of their passes when targeting Gilmore, ranking him third in that department.
Two years ago, Gilmore was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and co-led the league in interceptions. Going back to the extension talks, New England likely won’t want to pay him as they have a bevy of issues to take care of, including quarterback. This will likely be the final extension Gilmore receives and if that is the case, and the Browns are willing to make this trade and extension happen, they make sense as they are in a prime position to make a Super Bowl run in 2021.
The 2021 offseason should be an exciting one for the Browns, no matter who joins the team or who doesn’t. Gilmore, if he can get back to that 2019 form and the Browns want to go that route, will be a huge addition to this team.