Could the Buffalo Bills bring back their former first round pick?
The big news on Wednesday morning was the New England Patriots releasing cornerback Stephon Gilmore, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 2019 AP Defensive Player of the Year had yet to play a game this season as he started the year on the Physically Unable to Perform List.
In a follow up tweet, Schefter noted that one of the reasons for the release was the two sides could not agree to terms on a restructured contract. At 31 years of age, Gilmore is coming off probably his best stretch of football with three straight Pro Bowls, two All-Pro nominations in 2018 and 2019 along with the AP Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019.
Does this make sense for the Buffalo Bills?
The question now is whether or not the Buffalo Bills would be interested in bringing back their former starting cornerback. The Bills drafted Gilmore in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft and he would step in as the starter almost immediately. He steadily improve each season and made the Pro Bowl in 2016 as a member of the Bills.
However, he faced challenges in Buffalo and was part of the franchise when they were struggling to find their identity. Last year, Gilmore talked about why he felt his career really took off after joining the Patriots and he mentioned the fact the Bills were essentially getting new coaches every year and it was tough to find that consistency, according to PatriotsWire.
I think, me in Buffalo, the first five years, I had four different defensive coordinators, three different head coaches, so I was kind of trying to learn each and every year. So once I got to New England, I got some consistency, the same guys around, same coaches. I feel like that’s when my game took off more.”
Since Sean McDermott has taken over, that certainly hasn’t been an issue with Leslie Frazier as their defensive coordinator. The Buffalo Bills have built themselves into a Super Bowl contender that certainly could be appealing for a player like Gilmore at this stage in his career.
Stephon Gilmore would also be a clear upgrade at the position opposite Tre’Davious White. The defense is certainly playing well, and Levi Wallace is getting the job done but adding a former All-Pro like Gilmore would be an improvement at the position.
Ultimately, the decision seems like it will come down to money and what Stephon Gilmore is looking for. The Buffalo Bills would be unlikely to commit to a long-term deal but at this point in the season, there aren’t many teams that would.
If general manager Brandon Beane can pitch Gilmore on a chance to play in a top tier defense with a chance at a ring that would help make him a priority free agent next offseason, that could be enough for Stephon Gilmore to return to the team that drafted him.