Ted Johnson: Gilmore lit a match with contract tweet


Just in case it wasn't already clear, Stephon Gilmore took to Twitter on Thursday to let us know how he feels about his contract situation.

The New England Patriots cornerback responded to a list of the top 10 highest-paid defensive backs in the NFL with a tweet that read, "Oh ok ...". Gilmore, who didn't attend mandatory minicamp, is set to make $7 million in 2021. That's well below what those 10 corners are making.

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If you ask former Pats linebacker Ted Johnson, we should be making a much bigger deal out of the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year's passive-aggressive tweet than we already are.

"This has been very much an under-reported story. And I would say this, the Patriots have done a great job like they typically do of keeping this story kind of quelled and under the radar," Johnson said. "What Stephon Gilmore did was pretty much light a match and throw it on the fire when he sent out that tweet yesterday with the top-10 list of corners in the league that are highest paid, and he's not on that list. Basically, saying he wants to be on that list.

"This is a big, big story, and how Bill Belichick handles this situation I think is going to be very important and probably the most interesting storyline besides the quarterback battle going into training camp."

If Gilmore isn't on the roster in 2021, the Patriots will lean on J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, and Jalen Mills as the next men up on the cornerback depth chart. Johnson believes entering the season without Gilmore as the anchor of the defense would be a major mistake on Belichick's part.

"The Patriots wanted everyone to think that they're working toward a deal but clearly they are not, and they need this guy on this defense," he said. "You don't go out and improve the front-seven like you did and not sign Stephon Gilmore. ... If Bill Belichick wants this team to get where he wants it to go, he has to have Stephon Gilmore on this team. They're going to have to pay this guy if they want to capitalize and validate all those free agents they picked up a couple months ago."

Gilmore played in 11 games last season before suffering a torn quad in Week 15. The soon-to-be 31-year-old notched one interception, three passes defensed and a forced fumble.

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