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Sport: Panthers want to see Stephon Gilmore play before offering him an extension

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After acquiring former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore from the Patriots, Panthers GM Scott Fitterer said the team would not immediately extend its acquisition. However, that doesn’t mean the Panthers don't intend to eventually sign their acquisition. Per Jeff Howe and Joseph Person of The Athletic, “the Panthers’ intention is to sign Gilmore to a contract extension.”

Stephon Gilmore is coming off a quad injury. © Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports Stephon Gilmore is coming off a quad injury.

The Panthers understand that they’ll have to pay up if they hope to keep Gilmore in Carolina for the long haul. Before they make that pricey investment, the Panthers want to see what Gilmore looks like on the field. The star cornerback missed five games last year and is guaranteed to miss the first six this season due to a quadriceps injury he suffered late in 2020. The team sounds optimistic that Gilmore will return once his six-week stint on the PUP comes to an end, but the front office is still being fiscally responsible before handing out an extension.

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Per Howe and Person, Gilmore’s contract issues with the Patriots apparently won’t travel to Carolina. The cornerback “will report to the Panthers and won’t demand a new contract before suiting up.” The veteran also wants to assure that “the defensive fit is as strong as it appears on paper” before committing long-term to the organization.

The Athletic piece has plenty of other notable details regarding the Gilmore trade. Specifically, while the Packers had previously been connected to the cornerback, apparently a pair of AFC teams made offers to the Patriots, and those two squads dissuaded the Panthers from making a run at Gilmore in free agency (and persuaded them to make a trade).

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The Patriots Stared Him Down, But Stephon Gilmore Didn’t Blink

  The Patriots Stared Him Down, But Stephon Gilmore Didn’t Blink A look at how the star corner used the Patriots’ it’s-only-business M.O. to get paid, then get traded. Week 4 was about a long-term personal relationship for the Patriots.Week 5, evidently, will be about a professional one.New England people have long been fond of positioning days like this one as being about “business”, and in those terms, over the last year-and-a-half, the team just met its match in Stephon Gilmore, its best player in the still-relatively-new post-Brady era. Gilmore never took his fight public. He never showed outward rebellion the way other players in these sorts of spots do.

More must-reads:

  • Panthers acquire 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore from Patriots for sixth-round pick
  • Panthers not planning to offer Stephon Gilmore an extension yet
  • The 'NFL Defensive Player of the Year' quiz

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Panthers' Matt Rhule non-committal on when Stephon Gilmore will debut .
Matt Rhule made it clear when speaking with reporters Wednesday he's not rushing Gilmore into action ahead of this Sunday's matchup against the struggling New York Giants. "Obviously, I'd love to have him play Sunday," Rhule said of his new cornerback. "Will he play, will he not play? I don't know." Gantt added Rhule and company will first see how Gilmore responds to on-the-field work before determining if the 31-year-old will be activated off the reserve/physically unable to perform list. "Just trying to get him healthy right now," Rhule continued about the process.

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