Opinion: The Patriots need to pay up for star cornerback Stephon Gilmore

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When each of the Patriots' four quarterbacks dropped back, you could see it. It was clear as day, and it shouldn’t be debatable.

The Patriots need Stephon Gilmore.

That was evident when Jalen Mills or Michael Jackson Sr. were lining up opposite of J.C. Jackson at outside cornerback. It was obvious when it came time for one-on-one drills and Patriots wide receivers beat defensive backs on 12 of 14 reps, and that included a dropped pass.

The Patriots started minicamp on Monday and Gilmore, the team’s top defensive player, wasn’t in attendance. Prior to practice, Bill Belichick was evasive when asked if the Pro Bowler was in town for the mandatory practice.

“We’re scrambling to get things going this morning, so I didn’t really get a chance to see everybody myself, so we’ll see where we’re at,” Belichick said when asked if the cornerback was present. When asked about Gilmore not participating in OTAs and about his importance to the defense, the Patriots coach said, “We’ll there’s a lot of players we haven’t seen in OTAs. All the players are important and we’d like to have all of them.”

As the day unfolded, it became clear why Belichick was noncommittal. According to the Boston Herald, Gilmore is not attending minicamp due to a “contract dispute.” That means the 2019 NFL defensive player of the year is holding out, wanting a bump on his base salary of $7 million.

The two sides seem to be at a standstill with Gilmore scheduled to lose $93,085 by skipping mandatory minicamp. The cornerback was the subject of trade rumors last year, but the Pats held on to their No. 1 cornerback. It was a smart move then and it would be a smart move for the Patriots to pony up and pay Gilmore what he’s worth.

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