Around 90 players will be at mandatory minicamp for the Patriots this week, but one of New England’s stars will be missing.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was absent from minicamp on Monday.
Head coach Bill Belichick tried to cover for players who were absent from Monday’s session by using excuses such as “weather” and “travel arrangements.” However, the speculation was quickly shut down by The Athletic’s Jeff Howe who tweeted that “Gilmore’s absence is not weather related.”
When asked directly about Gilmore’s absence, Belichick evaded the questions.
“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,” he told USA Today.
Gilmore, who is in the last year of a five-year, $65 million deal, had his contract restructured last offseason. In an attempt to increase their salary cap for this summer’s free agency spending spree, the Pats’ transferred $4.5 million that Gilmore was supposed to earn this season to his 2021 base salary. He is now owed around $7 million for the upcoming season. Since restructuring his contract, Gilmore has been hunting for a new deal with the Patriots.
Gimore’s future with the Patriots is cloudy and Belichick is notorious for letting players walk and take big contracts elsewhere. Historically, he has been adamant about having his players attend minicamp. When asked about the importance of Gilmore missing minicamp, he did not single the player out.
“Well 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.” Belichick said.
For missing Monday’s practice, Gilmore will now have to pay a fine of $15,000. If he decides to skip the whole week, then that fine will balloon to over more than $93,000.