We’ve known since early March that Stephon Gilmore will be playing cornerback for the Patriots come the fall, but it took a while for the look of the rest of the position group to come into focus.
Logan Ryan signed with the Titans as a free agent and Malcolm Butler’s time as a restricted free agent featured a lot of speculation about whether he’d wind up moving to the Saints via offer sheet or trade. That speculation all but ended when the Saints drafted cornerback Marshon Lattimore in the first round after saying Butler trade talks weren’t on the front burner, leaving Butler to sign his tender for the coming season.
It may be for just one year, but his return gives the Patriots a strong pair of starting corners and leaves Gilmore expecting to enjoy his first season in New England.
“It’s going to be fun,” Gilmore said during a Thursday press conference. “I know he’s a talented player but I just try to stay in my lane and handle the things I can handle. It’s a competitive group so I’m looking forward to it. He just competes no matter what. He just competes to the end of the play. I mean all the guys do in the secondary so that’s one thing that stuck out to me.”
Gilmore’s addition and Butler’s return were two parts of a busy and interesting offseason that’s left high expectations for another long playoff run for the Super Bowl champions. If they’re met, Gilmore and Butler won’t be the only ones having fun.