Nov 29, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA;  New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) talks with a member of the Arizona Cardinals prior to the start of the game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

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Patriots release All-Pro CB Stephon Gilmore

The New England Patriots are releasing All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore after they could not reach a deal on a restructured contract.

Gilmore, 31, confirmed his departure in a tweet Wednesday morning.

“We enjoyed so much success together and you have been an incredible inspiration for my individual achievements,” Gilmore wrote to Patriots fans before continuing with his gratitude for the Patriots. “… To Mr. [owner Robert] Kraft, the coaches, and the organization thank you for providing me with this platform and allowing me to be part of greatness. Most of all I want to thank my teammates who lined up next to me every Sunday with one goal in mind.

“Those moments on and off the field will never be forgotten.”

Gilmore has been on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from surgery for a torn quad in December and was eligible to return for Week 7 action. Hovering over Gilmore and the Patriots, however, has been his desire for a reworked contract.

A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Gilmore was in the final season of a five-year, $65 million deal signed with the Patriots in 2017. He made it clear he wanted to be among the highest-paid cornerbacks.

Byron Jones of the Miami Dolphins is the top-paid cornerback at $16.1 million, according to Spotrac, with three others — Trae Waynes of the Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Haden of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jones’ teammate Xavien Howard — all earning more than $15 million annually.

Releasing Gilmore opens up $5.8 million in cap space, ESPN reported.

Gilmore now becomes a free agent, and the competition for the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year could be fierce.

Gilmore spent the first five seasons of his career with the Buffalo Bills, who selected him No. 10 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. In 124 career games (122 starts), he has 411 tackles, one sack, six forced fumbles and three fumble records. He has intercepted 25 passes and returned them for 452 yards, including two touchdowns.

He won one Super Bowl with the Patriots, highlighted by an interception of a Jared Goff pass late in the game with the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII.

J.C. Jackson and Jalen Mills have been starting at cornerback for New England.

–Field Level Media

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