Update: Stephon Gilmore has been traded to the Carolina Panthers.
The New England Patriots made shocking headlines on Wednesday by releasing multi-time All-Pro and one-time Defensive Player of the year, Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore is definitely going to have a market and the LA Chargers should be included in that market.
That being said, the Bolts likely won't be in the market. Tom Telesco is not known for making moves like this and with the team currently 3-1 with two huge wins under its belt, it is not desperately searching to improve the roster.
However, just because a team does not desperately need to improve does not mean that it should avoid making any sort of improvements whatsoever.
Stephon Gilmore would absolutely improve the LA Chargers.
Let's not forget that Gilmore was just named the Defensive Player of the Year two years ago. Yes, he is 30 years old and yes, he has dealt with injuries. Typically, those are massive red flags and I myself have expressed plenty of hesitation in making certain moves for players who fit this same billing before.
This is different. This is a one-year deal that will not restrict the Chargers in the long term and can easily be afforded. While you could argue that Gilmore will try and sign a multi-year deal, the chances of any team signing more than a one-year deal as we are already a quarter into the season is slim.
It has been reported that Gilmore is looking for a $15 million contract, which seemingly makes it far less appetizing to bring him in. However, even at that number, the Chargers can make it work without cutting too much into the $11.8 million of rolled-over cap space for next offseason.
If the worst-case scenario happens and Gilmore cannot produce then it costs the team $3 million in cap space. Yes, they would lose that signing bonus money but it would not impact the cap. And quite frankly, fans should not really care if a multi-billion sports franchise loses a few million in a signing bonus that does not competitively impact the team.
The secondary has been solid thus far but just because it has solid does not mean they should avoid adding talent. In fact, the secondary performing well is a perfect situation for Gilmore. He does not need to jump in and be the team's top corner right away, like he would in Kansas City. He would have time to work into his role and his snap count could increase.
If all goes right, the Chargers could suddenly have a secondary that is far more dynamic and deeper. This is important to protect against injuries, especially considering Chris Harris Jr. cannot stay healthy, and creates a really exciting end-product.
If everyone in the secondary is healthy and the Chargers make the playoffs they could run a secondary that has Michael Davis, Asante Samuel and Stephon Gilmore at cornerback with Chris Harris playing some safety (he did that in Week 1) and Derwin James moving all around the field. With Nasir Adderley, the Chargers have a really good seven defensive-back outlook that would not be that restricting because of the versatility of James.
And that is only in certain instances when they want to run that. Other times, the team could have another elite piece to rotate and keep guys fresh. As we have seen already, Brandon Staley really emphasizes player rotations to keep them fresh for the fourth quarter.
Stephon Gilmore would unlock so much for this defense and I don't care how well Tevaughn Campbell played in Week 2. To suggest that Gilmore doesn't have a higher ceiling than Campbell is absurd and would be extremely biased.
The LA Chargers do not need Stephon Gilmore but that should not stop them from potentially bringing him in. It likely won't happen, but if it does, it could turn into something special.