Rarely does an All-Pro player become a free agent in the middle of an NFL season. Rarer still is the situation when that player can seemingly still play at a high level. And most unlikely is when that player hits the market at a position your team sorely needs help.
That is the position the Green Bay Packers find themselves in this Wednesday morning. In a shocking move, the New England Patriots are releasing cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who has made three straight Pro Bowls and earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2018 and 2019:
A stunner: Patriots are releasing four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who was eligible to come off the Physically Unable to Perform List after Week 6, source tells ESPN. pic.twitter.com/31H8KQF8hq— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 6, 2021
Gilmore was scheduled to sit out for two more weeks with an injury before becoming eligible to return to the field, but he is now suddenly a free agent market. This move evidently is, at least in part, driven by Gilmore being in the final year of his contract, as the 31-year-old was scheduled to make a maximum of $7.5 million this season. Compensation would likely be the biggest stumbling block for the Packers in bringing Gilmore in; they provide a great opportunity for a ring, but Gilmore will almost surely command a heavy price.
The Packers of course face significant uncertainty in their cornerback room after the shoulder injury to Jaire Alexander on Sunday. The team and Alexander are still reportedly weighing their options, with more of an update expected on Wednesday. But with Gilmore on the market, the Packers could make a splashy move to fill in that gap, and they are expected to be one of the first teams to make a phone call:
The Green Bay Packers are one team expected to show interest now that All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore is available.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) October 6, 2021
Can Green Bay come to an agreement with the star corner? Stay tuned to find out. Now on to the rest of the curds.
Jaire Alexander Latest Blow as Injury Gods Inflict Pain on Green Bay Packers - Sports Illustrated
It has been a rough season on the injury front for Green Bay after some relatively healthy years in 2019 and 2020. Alexander's shoulder is just the latest issue.
8 stats to know about Packers after first 4 games of 2021 | Packers Wire
Rashan Gary has at least three pressures in each of the Packers' first four games, and his arrival couldn't have come at a better time with Za'Darius Smith out indefinitely.
What You Might’ve Missed: Draft-and-develop defenders | Packers.com
The 2019 draft picks, Gary included, had a nice performance on Sunday. Kingsley Keke had his sack-strip, Gary was active in both the pass rush and run defense, and Darnell Savage's closing speed remains elite.
De'Vondre Campbell might just be the type of linebacker the Packers have sorely needed in recent years – The Athletic
Campbell continues to be a revelation on a $2 million contract. He's wearing the communications helmet and relaying all of the defensive calls, and he's making plays all over the football field. Don't be surprised if the Packers try to lock him up for a few more years with the way he has played so far.
Cowboys plan to release LB Jaylon Smith | NFL.com
This is the other planned release that made waves around the NFL this morning, but this one is entirely performance-based, as Smith has fallen far down the depth chart in Dallas.
Public urination at Glastonbury Festival leaves traces of cocaine and MDMA in river - CNN
COME ON, PEOPLE! Think of the eels before you do illicit drugs!