Saints could save offseason by trading for a veteran cornerback
By Kristen Wong
The New Orleans Saints could still have a few tricks up their sleeve, and they could lock down their defense with one crucial trade before the start of the 2021 season. (Spoiler: it’s not Xavien Howard.)
Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report recently listed what each NFL team should trade or trade for based on the respective franchise’s “best interests.” Sobleski had the Saints going after New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore which isn’t the craziest trade proposal at all. In fact, it just might work.
Most trades from here on out will likely be smaller, back-of-the-roster deals as teams look to tie up loose ends, but New Orleans could still pull off a blockbuster trade before the end of their offseason.
It all revolves around Stephon Gilmore and just how badly he wants out of New England. Currently, Gilmore isn’t satisfied with his current Patriots contract and is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season.
Coach Bill Belichick no doubt would prefer to keep the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year around, and Gilmore himself has said he prefers staying in New England.
But on the off chance that both sides can’t strike an agreement, the Patriots may just have to cut their losses sooner rather than later. The Patriots would much rather use Gilmore as a valuable trading chip than see him leave for free next season, and Gilmore would rather play on a team that “knows his worth.”
New Orleans Saints should trade for Stephon Gilmore if opportunity arises
Gilmore is entering a contract year with a base salary of $7 million, and given his storied history with the Patriots, he wants more insurance for the future. If he becomes available on the trade market, he’ll be looking for greener pastures than the New England countryside.
The Saints still have a precarious salary cap situation, but they could potentially rework Gilmore’s current deal to lower the cap charge.
Also, New Orleans may have an advantage in landing Gilmore over others due to their trade history with the Patriots. Since 2015, the Saints have made four trades with the Patriots, including one that sent Brandin Cooks and a fourth-rounder for draft picks in 2017.
Those picks, as Saints fans know, became offensive tackle Ryan Ramcyzk and defensive end Trey Hendrickson. Trading with New England has turned out pretty well for the Saints before, so why not call in a favor and get the jump on Gilmore early?
Gilmore would plug and play perfectly next to Marshon Lattimore and boost the Saints’ secondary to elite status. He underwent surgery this offseason to fix a partially torn quad, playing in just 11 games last year, but his numbers speak for themselves (including a league-leading six interceptions and 20 passes defended in 2019).
Gilmore’s mind could already be set on staying with the Patriots, and it may just be a matter of changing a few decimal places.
Should New England choose to part with their veteran corner instead, though, the Saints have a once-in-an-offseason opportunity to swoop in.