New England Patriots safety N’Keal Harry will be a second-year player in the NFL, but for now, he’s making quite an impact, already making his mark as one of the Top 10 rookies after less than a week of training camp. Harry has been throwing himself into the action all training camp, making plays along the ball, in the slot, and even as a return man. Harry’s strong play has Patriots head coach Bill Belichick saying that Harry will be in the starting lineup for Week 1, and that he could be the team’s starter at safety, which could signal a change for Stephon Gilmore, who was a starter for the last four years before a trade to Buffalo last December.
Bill Belichick has been a master of the art of avoiding questions during his press conferences. Despite his pressers being known as “off-the-record interviews”, Belichick has been able to avoid many of the questions that reporters would ask. Why does he do it? Who knows, but as the NFL season nears, Belichick and the Patriots become the latest team to put the press in its place, avoiding questions altogether.
Following an impressive and controversial playoff run, the New England Patriots will begin to prepare for the 2019 NFL season. As the annual training camp begins, fans will be eagerly awaiting the return of one of the most important players in franchise history. But, what is Stephon Gilmore’s status in the Patriots’ offense? Will rookie sensation N’Keal Harry be able to hold his own in the NFL? And will Patriots head coach Bill Belichick answer more questions about his coaching decisions at the NFL Combine?
Bill Belichick is already in midseason form, despite the fact that the New England Patriots don’t formally begin training camp until Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, Belichick held his first press conference of the summer, and he was naturally asked about a couple of the major stories that have surrounded the Patriots during this wild NFL offseason, specifically Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore’s contract extension/salary bump request and wide receiver N’Keal Harry’s trade request. And we’re guessing you know how Belichick responded to both.
Stephon Gilmore, a Patriots cornerback, wants more money, while N’Keal Harry, a wide receiver, wants to be moved.
Here’s a short summary for anyone who may have missed the Harry and Gilmore tales.
Harry, who was selected by the Patriots with the last selection in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft out of Arizona State, sought a trade from the team via his agent, Jamal Tooson, about three weeks ago. The two-time All-Pac 12 pick has been targeted 81 times in 21 games and has caught 45 receptions for 414 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons under Belichick, the first of which was cut short due to an ankle injury suffered in training camp.
In a statement, Tooson said that his client’s expectations had not been fulfilled, and that it would be best for both the Patriots and Harry if both parties moved on. And he’s most likely correct. If wideouts Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor, as well as tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, aren’t being utilized as often as Harry would want, the signings of wideouts Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor and tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, won’t help things.
Gilmore, a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time First-Team All-Pro, and the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, hasn’t requested to be moved but is dissatisfied with his current deal, which pays him $7 million in base salary this season. Gilmore has said that he wants “what I’m worth” and that he and Belichick, who is effectively New England’s general manager, can “find some common ground and get it set up.”
Bill Belichick, predictably, declined to comment on either scenario.
N’Keal Harry, Bill Belichick, and Stephon Gilmore (from left to right) | Harry How/Getty Images; Adam Glanzman/Getty Images; Abbie Parr/Getty Images
Belichick was initially questioned about Gilmore’s desire for a raise in salary or an extension to his contract, which is scheduled to expire after this season, since both stories have been hot topics building up to the opening of Patriots training camp on Wednesday. And here’s what Belichick had to say about it (via Boston Herald):
“We’re not going to discuss contracts in public.”
On cornerback, Bill Belichick Gilmore, Stephon
He was then questioned about Harry’s trade request, to which he responded as follows:
“I’m not going to discuss contracts or personal matters.”
N’Keal Harry and Bill Belichick
Why do these individuals continue to ask Belichick these kinds of questions? Have the people who posed these questions never seen a Belichick news conference before? What were their expectations for how this would play out? Did they believe that after all these years, he would suddenly speak up about his problems? It’s incomprehensible.
I understand these beat reporters have a job to perform, and I admire them much, but if you’re only going to get a question or two in, why waste your time knowing what the response will be?
Gilmore has already arrived at Patriots training camp, and Harry is scheduled to join him.
The good news for Belichick is that Gilmore, who missed the Patriots’ entire offseason program, including mandatory minicamp, has already arrived in Foxboro, and Harry is anticipated to be present when the team’s first practice takes place on Wednesday morning.
Harry hoped to be moved before the start of camp, but that hasn’t occurred, and Gilmore hasn’t received his wish either. And what makes the latter’s position even more intriguing is that we still don’t know when he’ll be back on the field, as he’s presently on the PUP list while rehabbing a torn quad that kept him out of 11 games last season.
That is a question that should be asked of Belichick tomorrow.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- stephon gilmore
- 2020 new england patriots
- stephon gilmore trade
- stephon gilmore salary
- stephon gilmore draft