The New England Patriots just released four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Adam Schefter reported the news on Twitter.
The news comes on the heels of the Atlanta Falcons placing cornerback Isaiah Oliver on injured reserve on Tuesday and having lost cornerback Kendall Sheffield to injured reserve last week.
The Falcons have a gaping hole at cornerback heading into the game with the New York Jets on Sunday and beyond.
Gilmore was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year just two seasons ago. He had a base salary of $7 million for the 2021 season as the 31-year old was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Gilmore was the 10th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He played five seasons in Buffalo before making the move to New England.
He was selected to the Pro Bowl his final season with the Bills. He has been to the Pro Bowl the last three seasons with New England and was first-team All Pro in 2018 and 2019.
The Falcons are roughly $800,000 under the salary cap for the remainder of the season and would have to get creative to make him a contract offer. The Falcons dead-cap number is a whopping $23.4 million according to Spotrac including Julio Jones ($7.8 million) and Desmond Trufant ($5.8 million).
Still, the likelihood that the former South Carolina Gamecocks star would be interested in the Falcons - in part dependent on what sort of contract he is seeking - is remote.
Schefter expects there to be several teams with more cap flexibility and more chances of success in the 2021 season to be interested in Gilmore.
The Carolina Panthers could be an interesting choice. The Panthers are $21 million under the salary cap according to Spotrac, close to where Gilmore grew up (Rock Hill, S.C.), and are off to a 3-1 start.
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While the chances of bringing Gilmore to Atlanta are slim, expect general manager Terry Fontenot to at least make the phone call ... even if it's a short one.