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Panthers trade 2023 sixth-round pick for Stephon Gilmore

New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

It didn’t take long to see where former New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore would land.

The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, who was on the verge of being released by the Patriots after not coming to terms on a new contract, has been instead traded to the Carolina Panthers. All it took was a 2023 sixth-round pick. Seriously.

Yes, the Seahawks traded a 2022 sixth-rounder for Sidney Jones. Gilmore’s cap hit is a solid $15 million higher than Jones... but also Gilmore is a recent DPOY winner and Jones is not.

The Panthers also traded for former Jaguars cornerback C.J. Henderson, shortly after the season-ending injury to first-round pick Jaycee Horn. Who’s the man who’s been wheeling and dealing? First-year GM Scott Fitterer, who spent roughly 20 years as a Seahawks scout and executive.

It’s entirely possible this turns out to be a rental for Carolina, who have started off a surprising 3-1, but at the very least the 31-year-old Gilmore gets to return home for the rest of this season. He is a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina, played his college ball at South Carolina, and obviously the Panthers play in Charlotte which is less than an hour away from Rock Hill.

When you consider the hometown factor it’s possible that Carolina was always the strong favorite whether he was traded or released. New England at least got some draft compensation in addition to saving cap space.