The Bills have decided not to use the franchise tag or otherwise break the bank to extend their five-year relationship with former first-round cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The question now becomes whether someone else will fork over big money for Gilmore.
Multiple sources tell PFT that Gilmore hopes to exceed deals previously signed by Janoris Jenkins ($12.5 million per year at signing) and Richard Sherman ($14 million per year in new money; $11.48 million per year at signing). If it happens, that still won’t set the high-water mark established last year by Washington cornerback Josh Norman, who received $15 million per year at signing after Carolina rescinded the franchise tender.
Other cornerbacks who will be looking to get paid include A.J. Bouye, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Logan Ryan.
Whether any, some, or all of them cash in remains to be seen. As the salary cap keeps going up and up and up, the top of the market for most positions simply isn’t. The highest-paid quarterbacks should be north of $30 million by now, given the growth of the cap since 2013. Other positions should be growing, too, but they just aren’t.
While that leaves plenty of cash for the NFL’s middle class, it keeps the rubber band from stretching as much as it could, even as the overall salary-cap lap band keeps getting looser and looser.