Stephon Gilmore throws subtle shade at Cowboys amid prolonged free agency

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Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys might have the best cornerback room in the NFL, but that hasn't stopped fans from banging the table for Stephon Gilmore to re-sign. With OTAs up and running around the league, Gilmore is surprisingly still a free agent.

It seemed Gilmore was on the verge of rejoining the Panthers, where he played in 2021, but momentum has skidded to a halt. Team writers understand that Carolina wants to say young at cornerback. The Panthers have seldom signed cornerbacks who are on the wrong side of 30.

It's also been reported that Gilmore would be open to a return to the Patriots. Gilmore spent four years in New England from 2017 to 2020. During that span, he won a Super Bowl, took home Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019 and was twice a First-Team All-Pro.

Gilmore is pound-for-pound the best free agent remaining. Even he is puzzled that he's still unemployed. Well, the 33-year-old addressed his free agency to NFL insider Josina Anderson and he appeared to take a veiled shot at the Cowboys and other possible free agent suitors.

Stephon Gilmore takes veiled shot at Cowboys amid prolonged free agency

"I’m still focused on playing, but it has to be the right opportunity. I feel like it’s the age thing with some of these teams. If I was 28, I would already have been signed by now; at the same time, I know the value I still bring. If you watch the tape, I feel like I played well the last two years, and literally almost played every snap last year. So I’m staying patient, while watching my son who’s a wide receiver and cornerback lock people up on the field with his defensive back skills too."

Stephon Gilmore

Teams are obviously wary of signing a cornerback approaching his mid-30s (he turns 34 in September), but Gilmore was rock-solid for the Cowboys last season.

Acquired via trade last March to be the secondary perimeter corner behind Trevon Diggs, Gilmore was thrust into CB1 duties alongside DaRon Bland after Diggs' ACL injury before Week 3. While Bland had an All-Pro season and set the NFL's pick-six record, he got burned in several games converting from the slot to the outside, which left Gilmore to take Bland's assignments.

Gilmore played the most snaps of any Cowboys defender. Among cornerbacks who logged at least 600 coverage snaps, Gilmore allowed the eighth-lowest passer rating and fifth-lowest completion rate when targeted, per Pro Football Focus. His 76.1 run-defense grade was second-best among corners.

Taking that production into account, age shouldn't be the make-or-break factor whether teams choose to sign Gilmore. Maybe the five-time Pro Bowler is demanding a lofty salary and that is what is causing his longer-than-expected free agency.

Whatever it is, Gilmore clearly feels a way that the Cowboys and other teams haven't made him a suitable offer. Can you really blame him?

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