The 2020 labor deal has made it harder for unhappy players to hold out. Some teams have tolerated unhappy players holding in — reporting for camp, attending meetings, but not practicing or playing in games.
Some of the contract standoffs have been resolved. In Miami, the Dolphins and cornerback Xavien Howard worked out their differences. More recently, the Seahawks and safety Jamal Adams finalized a new deal. Others, like linebacker T.J. Watt in Pittsburgh and tackle Duane Brown in Seattle, continue.
In New England, where things are always quiet, cornerback Stephon Gilmore quietly continues to not practice or play, at a time when he still hasn’t gotten a new deal to replace a compensation package for 2021, the final year of his deal.
Gilmore has a base salary of $7 million. He clearly wants that to change. The Patriots presumably are willing to change it. Through nearly a month of camp, a revised deal has not been reached.
To his credit, Gilmore continues to work behind the scenes to help himself and others to get ready for the season, which begins for the Patriots in 20 days.
“I won’t talk on his injury, but I will say, his participation in the building has been phenomenal,” cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino told reporters on Sunday regarding Gilmore, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “I joked last meeting about him being Coach Steph. He’s been great working with the guys, being in the room, communicating.”
That’s great. It would be better if he were practicing. He isn’t.
He’s technically on the physically unable to perform list. It’s not clear whether he’s injured or “injured.” Regardless, the Patriots aren’t pushing the issue, yet.
More clues will come in eight days, when the Patriots cut the roster from 80 to 53 players. Will Gilmore pass a physical and shift to the active roster? Or will he start the season on the PUP list?
Chances are that the answer depends on whether he gets the adjusted contract he wants, thereby ending one of the quietest hold-ins the NFL has seen in years, if not ever.