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Former Defensive Player of the Year Could Sign After 2024 NFL Draft

According to one general manager, free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore could sign a new deal following the 2024 NFL Draft.
Stephon Gilmore Free Agent

Despite being on the older side, free agent Stephon Gilmore could still start for most teams in the league. While he’s not the same lockdown force he was when he won Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019, the former first-round pick remained productive during his lone season with the Dallas Cowboys. Starting opposite Da’Ron Bland, the five-time Pro Bowler finished the season with two interceptions, 13 passes defended, and a 71.2 PFF grade, the 35th-best mark out of 127 eligible players.

Stephon Gilmore has been connected to the Carolina Panthers as a free agent, and could still sign with his hometown club. However, if it’s that’s going to happen, it will be after the 2024 NFL Draft. According to first-year General Manager Dan Morgan, the Panthers are still more than willing to sign the two-time All-Pro.

Free Agent Stephon Gilmore Could Sign With Panthers After 2024 NFL Draft

Despite finishing with the worst record in football, Carolina has found a way to entice several veterans onto the roster. The Panthers effectively replaced Brian Burns with Jadeveon Clowney, but they still have a hole in the secondary. Jaycee Horn is a good player when healthy, and signing Stephon Gilmore as a free agent will be a good way to build up a defense that will probably need to be the driving force behind most of the team wins.

The Panthers have the closest connection to Stephon Gilmore, but they won’t be the only team interested in the free agent. Teams will try to find their long-term answers at cornerback in the NFL Draft, but there aren’t enough good prospects to go around. Once the dust settles, one of these five teams could be interested in stealing Gilmore from the Panthers.

Other Possible Destinations

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have yet to find a proper replacement for star cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. After trading the cornerback to the Tennessee Titans, the reigning Super Bowl champions need to find a starter opposite Trent McDuffie. With glaring needs at wide receiver and offensive tackle, Kansas City might have to plug that need with Stephon Gilmore as a free agent. While he isn’t a long-term fix, he can provide some much-needed support for a team hoping to hoist their third Lombardi in as many seasons.

Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts came this close to getting L’Jarius Sneed, which shows they’re in the market for some defensive upgrades. The team was a dropped pass away from making the playoffs last year, and now they have starting quarterback Anthony Richardson back on the field. If they improve the defense with a free agent like Stephon Gilmore, they could make a push for the AFC South crown.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers have a glaring need at wide receiver, and most analysts expect Jim Harbaugh to use an early pick on an offensive tackle. With this in mind, Los Angeles might not be able to address the cornerback position. This team could use more defensive backs, especially since they share a division with the Chiefs. Thanks to the Keenan Allen and Mike Williams transactions, the Chargers have all the salary cap space they need to sign a free agent like Stephon Gilmore to a short-term contract.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints refuse to rebuild, which means they must do everything they can to make the playoffs in 2024. If they don’t, head coach Dennis Allen and quarterback Derek Carr probably won’t be back in 2025. New Orleans doesn’t have that much cap space, but they should be able to sign Stephon Gilmore as a free agent. While he is still a good player, it’s hard to envision him breaking the bank this late in the offseason.

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens lost multiple starters in free agency and cannot possibly address all of those needs in the 2024 NFL Draft. With a little over $9 million in cap space, the Ravens might need to pinch pennies and sign a relatively cheap free agent like Stephon Gilmore to add some much-needed juice to this secondary.

Main Photo: Tim Heitman – USA Today Sports


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