The veteran cornerback fills an enormous want for the Dallas Cowboys of their secondary.
The Cowboys made their first exterior acquisition of the season, and it wasn’t a free agent signing. Virtually out of nowhere, they traded for veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore. After spending the 2022 season with the Colts, Gilmore now heads to Dallas in alternate for a fifth spherical decide.
Gilmore was the tenth general decide within the 2012 draft out of South Carolina, chosen by the Payments 4 spots after the Cowboys took Morris Claiborne. Gilmore has had the extra productive profession by a big margin, with 5 Professional Bowls, two First-Workforce All-Professional choices, and one Defensive Participant of the Yr award. He additionally received a Tremendous Bowl with the Patriots.
Gilmore has lengthy been a real shutdown nook, a rising rarity in a league that turns into extra pass-happy yearly. All through his 5 years in Buffalo and 4 in New England, Gilmore was ceaselessly tasked with shadowing the opposing group’s prime receiver and taking them out of the sport. Most of the time, he did simply that.
The Patriots determined to commerce Gilmore to the Panthers in the course of the 2021 season, shortly after he had been activated off the PUP record resulting from an damage sustained the earlier yr. Gilmore solely appeared in eight video games that yr as he ramped as much as full pace once more. On the finish of that season, he joined the Colts on a two-year deal, the ultimate yr of which the Cowboys now inherit.
Gilmore’s specialty has at all times been his potential in press man protection. Even at 32-years-old, Gilmore held up nicely in that regard. Gilmore performed the twenty fifth most man protection snaps final yr, ending twenty first in completion price allowed and nineteenth in passer score allowed.
These aren’t elite numbers, and no person ought to count on Gilmore to return in an replicate his 2019 DPOY marketing campaign. However Gilmore performed superb soccer on a really unhealthy Colts group final yr, and confirmed he nonetheless excels at what he was recognized for.
That’s nice for the Cowboys, as defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has relied closely on man protection all through his time right here. In 2021, the Cowboys ran some sort of man protection on the third highest price of any protection within the NFL; that price dropped this previous yr, largely because of the challenges of taking part in youthful defenders as soon as Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis went down with accidents.
Gilmore clearly fills an enormous gap on a protection seeking to proceed its latest run of dominance. Brown is a free agent, and never anticipated to discipline many presents whereas he continues to rehab, and Lewis is getting into the ultimate yr of his contract. DaRon Bland impressed as a rookie, and should have locked up the beginning nickel nook job already, however there have been questions on the exterior nook spot reverse Trevon Diggs.
Including a participant like Gilmore is nice for a number of causes. For starters, he’s an completed veteran who can put up numbers on the exterior nook spot, filling that want. However with only one yr remaining on his contract, and the truth that Gilmore might be 33 by the top of this season, the Cowboys aren’t stopping themselves from drafting a cornerback to develop behind Gilmore in the event that they resolve they wish to.
One other issue right here is the veteran presence Gilmore can have on such a younger cornerback room, particularly for Diggs. Gilmore has lengthy been thought to be one of many smartest corners within the sport, and he’s discovered from some actually sharp defensive minds all through his profession. With Diggs getting into the ultimate yr of his contract, and the Cowboys undoubtedly seeking to lock him up long run, the younger nook will profit drastically from taking part in alongside somebody like Gilmore. It could be an analogous state of affairs to how Tyler Smith discovered from Jason Peters this previous yr.
This transfer must be thought of an enormous win for the Cowboys. Gilmore brings comparable credibility to a Jalen Ramsey sort whereas coming at a fraction of the price, along with his 2023 wage sitting at just below $8 million. And buying him for a fifth-round decide ought to be thought of freeway theft.
This can be a low degree of threat on a participant who remains to be acting at a really excessive degree, and it’s price taking a shot given the value tag. Given how a lot frustration the Cowboys entrance workplace has (rightfully) generated over their aversion to creating splash strikes recently, the sheer incontrovertible fact that this commerce occurred in any respect appears like a win.