The NFL trade deadline is less than a week away and when it comes to Stephon Gilmore things heated up a bit Wednesday when it was learned his Foxborough, Massachusetts house is up for sale.
Gilmore is under contract through 2021, but the thought is the Patriots can get something for him now and not have to pay his salary next year.
Appearing on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria Wednesday, ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi said the Patriots and Bill Belichick need to be careful of what kind of message is sent if in fact a trade is made.
“This Stephon Gilmore thing is big," he said. "I think it’s real and if you’re a player in the locker room you’re really wondering how the organization is feeling towards the season. Are you giving up on the season? Because if you are it goes against everything that you’re telling me every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday about doing your job, about winning the football game this week. Because if you take away our best player, that’s not about winning football games, that’s thinking down the road.”
Bruschi also wondered if the rumors are impacting Gilmore's play on the field and then also the entire defense.
“There’s so many things to unpack here," he said. "So [if] he’s selling the house, obviously, I think he’s seen the writing on the wall too that he’s on the market. I’d assume that, it’s safe to assume it. But then you have to understand the trickle down effect of what this does in terms of how he plays. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve seen him play better football. Like I said, they knew what the Niners were doing, so they were going to get the ball to [George] Kittle. It’s third-and-11, let’s put Gilmore on Kittle and Kittle just works Gilmore on a quick little out route. Boom, first down 49ers. Nice throw by [Jimmy Garoppolo].
"Is this taking away from the motivation of Stephon Gilmore? Absolutely it would. If I were to think a team was trying to trade me and your agent knows things like this and you are getting words through the grapevine, I would be a unmotivated player at times, of course. It’s like my team wants to get away from me and I just won Defensive Player of the Year.
"Yes, there’s an effect on Gilmore if he’s on the trade block. There’s also an effect now on the entire locker room because if I am on that defense I am saying, ‘That’s our best guy over there and we’re thinking about getting rid of this guy?’ If I were Bill, I would try to give some type of reassurance to the guys that Steph [isn’t] going anywhere and that would help. But if he doesn’t and players can read the writing on the wall that we’re trying to get rid of guys, then this season is going to go down and go down quickly.”