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Star Free Agent Will Only Sign For the “Right Opportunity”

In a recent interview, free agent Stephon Gilmore stated that he's going to be selective when signing with a new team.
Stephon Gilmore Free Agent

Former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore is still a free agent despite yet another strong season in 2023. Starting in all 17 games, the five-time Pro Bowl selection finished the campaign with two interceptions, 13 passes defended, one forced fumble, an 83.3 passer rating allowed, and a 74.4 PFF grade. Despite this strong season, the 33-year-old remains unsigned, in large part because he’s being more selective with his next NFL home.

During a recent interview with Josina Anderson, Stephon Gilmore acknowledged that he is looking for the ideal fit and won’t sign as a free agent with just any organization.

“I’m still focused on playing, but it has to be the right opportunity,” Gilmore told Anderson. “I feel like it’s the age thing with some of these teams. If I was 28, I would already have been signed by now; at the same time, I know the value I still bring.”

Free Agent Stephon Gilmore Waiting for “Right Opportunity” To Sign

Prior to the NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers appeared to be the frontrunners in the Stephon Gilmore free agent sweepstakes. However, recent reports indicate that the team and cornerback are “not close” in contract talks, and Gilmore appears to be positioning for a larger deal elsewhere.

The Panthers need a cornerback, and at the end of the day, players tend to follow the money. Last year at this point, DeAndre Hopkins was talking about joining the Chiefs or Bills to chase a ring. Instead, he chased the money and signed with the Tennessee Titans. If Carolina ups their offer, Stephon Gilmore will probably reunite with them as a free agent. However, if they hold firm, then one of these five teams could sign him.

Possible Destinations

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs have not done much to offset the loss of star cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. This team will always go as far as Patrick Mahomes can take them, but they don’t win the Super Bowl last year without their impressive defensive play. With Rashee Rice possibly not in the Chiefs plans, Kansas City will need their defense to carry more weight than ever in 2024. Stephon Gilmore can help this team hoist their third straight Lombardi, and the reigning Super Bowl champions should be able to afford the free agent.

Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders had the worst defense in football last year. While the team aggressively filled several holes on the open market, they could still use a free agent like Stephon Gilmore. Jayden Daniels has a promising future, but Washington shouldn’t put too much pressure on him early. Instead, the team should build a strong defense capable of holding a lead and not turning every game into a shootout.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts narrowly missed out on acquiring L’Jarius Sneed, so free agent Stephon Gilmore could be a solid consolation prize. This team narrowly missed the playoffs with backup quarterback Gardner Minshew leading the way, so who knows what they could do with a healthy Anthony Richardson? Winning the AFC South won’t be easy with C.J. Stroud in the division, but Gilmore will help to slow down that elite passing attack.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans went from worst to first last year and are now all-in for a Super Bowl. With C.J. Stroud on a rookie contract, the team has the financial resources to spend on a free agent like Stephon Gilmore. This team could still use another cornerback to combat the high-flying offenses of the AFC, and Gilmore is easily the best one still available.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers are rebuilding on the fly following the failed Brandon Staley Era. Jim Harbaugh spent most of the offseason parting ways with high-priced offensive veterans while instilling some youth into that side of the ball. This is a good first step, but this team must fix the defense. Stephon Gilmore is the best defensive player available, and the free agent is a necessary addition when you share a division with Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Main Photo: Tim Heitman – USA Today Sports


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