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Bill Belichick Shares His Expectation For Stephon Gilmore

Stephon Gilmore on the sidelines for the Patriots.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 27: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots reacts after defeating the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Stephon Gilmore and the New England Patriots have been on rocky ground for some time now. It looks like that continues through this offseason.

Gilmore was not present for minicamp, as he seeks a new contract. Gilmore, the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is currently one of the great bargains in football. On the last year of a five-year, $65 million deal, he's set to make $7 million in base pay this year. He'll be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

“I don’t expect him to be here, and we’ll just focus on the guys who are here,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said during his press conference on Tuesday. He would not say whether or not the star cornerback's absence was excused.

Gilmore, who joined the Patriots in 2017 after being a first-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2012, is a two-time First-Team All-Pro, and four-time Pro Bowler. He was named to the Patriots' All-Decade team for the 2010s, and won Super Bowl LIII with the franchise.

During his exceptional 2019 season, he recorded 53 total tackles, and picked off a career and NFL-high six passes, scoring two defensive touchdowns. He recovered one fumble, and broke up 20 passes, tying a career high and leading the league that year.

He missed five games last season, testing positive for COVID-19 early in the fall, and suffering a partially torn quad later on in Week 15.

Stephon Gilmore turns 31 in September, so he may on the back end of his best NFL seasons, but he's consistently been one of the league's top cornerbacks. We'll see if the New England Patriots wind up dealing him, as has been rumored for a while, or if the two sides can work something out with a contract extension.

[ProFootballTalk]