In 2019, Stephon Gilmore was not only the best cornerback in football; he was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. Since then, he has taken a step back, but he has still made two Pro Bowls, one with the New England Patriots and one with the Carolina Panthers.
So as he entered unrestricted free agency this offseason, he was still seen as a relatively high-value target. He was immediately connected to the Las Vegas Raiders, who have been in desperate need of veteran leaders in the secondary.
And yet, despite that rumored interest, Gilmore remains unsigned by the Raiders or any other team in the NFL. In fact, Raiders new head coach Josh McDaniels revealed that there have not even been substantive talks between Gilmore and the Raiders, according to Levi Damien of USA Today:
“We talk to every free agent. [GM] Dave [Ziegler] does that. His group does that,” McDaniels said of potential interest in Gilmore. “But there’s been nothing substantial in that regard.”
McDaniels would only say of Gilmore that he has “a lot of respect” for what he’s done in his career, but that ‘it’s got to fit on both ends.”
On paper, Gilmore appears to be a natural fit with the Raiders. However, McDaniels’ tone surrounding a potential reunion with his former Patriots star does not appear to be positive. This could be for any number of innocent reasons but still could mean that Gilmore is not Raiders bound.
As is always the case with the NFL, this could simply be posturing on McDaniels’ behalf. Meanwhile, Las Vegas could be working behind the scenes to come to an agreement with Gilmore. It would be wise not to reveal the state of negotiations publicly.
If Gilmore does wind up with the Raiders, it would be the final piece of a defense that figures to be significantly improved in 2022. Chandler Jones and Gilmore — although past their primes — would be incredible additions for a Raiders team that has struggled defensively in past seasons.
Raiders talking extension with Derek Carr
While the Raiders are still looking to bring in free agents, they also want to care for the players already on the roster. This includes quarterback Derek Carr, who is in line for a lucrative extension after leading Las Vegas to the playoffs in 2021.
As of now, the two sides are not close to an agreement, but the Raiders are searching for the sweet spot between Carr getting what he deserves and the team maintaining flexibility.