Stephon Gilmore is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency a year from now and has proven his worth. The Buffalo Bills like him, and man-to-man corners are a necessity for Rex Ryan’s defense. The two sides want to get a deal done, but it seems money is the only sticking point.
Stephon Gilmore said he absolutely wants to stay in Buffalo and it is only financial matters being considered with/holding up contract.— Sal Capaccio (@SalSports) July 29, 2016
This would seem to be a positive when taken at face value. That is, until you realize how far apart the two sides might be in negotiations.
“The Josh Norman deal completely turned the market value at cornerback on its ear,” wrote Chris Brown at BuffaloBills.com last week. “Getting $15M per season from Washington after his franchise tag was rescinded by Carolina threw the cornerback market completely out of whack.”
Norman was one of the biggest free agent moves of the offseason and jumped past man-to-man cornerbacks Darelle Revis and Patrick Peterson for the highest salary in the league at the position.
“If a zone corner can get $15 million a year then upcoming free agents like Stephon Gilmore who play almost exclusively man-to-man will likely see getting that much or probably more as fair market value. I’m confident the Bills are not going to enter the $15 million a year territory.”
Brown then offers a much different number and comparable contract; the $12.5 million a year contract Janoris Jenkins signed with the New York Giants this offseason. Jenkins had $28.8 million guaranteed at signing and Brown thinks the Bills can work around the higher average figure by giving more guaranteed money. Norman’s guaranteed money is $36.5 million.
Our revised projection in May following the Norman signing had the Bills handing out a six-year, $78 million contract to average $13 million a season.
Brown left off his note on Gilmore on a very ominous tone:
“The Norman deal unfortunately could push negotiations between the Bills and Gilmore into an area where Buffalo could potentially be fiscally irresponsible as it pertains to the rest of their roster. And the Bills probably won’t, and should not, do that.”
As is his style, Gilmore isn’t saying much. He did say he wanted the contract done before the season but left that to his agent:
"I'll let my agent do the job. If it gets done, it gets done."
Bills fans can take some solace in the same rhetoric being thrown around a year ago in regards to Marcell Dareus. It was all gloom and doom in July when training camp started with both sides negotiating through the media. Dareus signed a huge contract on September 10th.