Contract and compensation details of Panthers’ Stephon Gilmore trade

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Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer must’ve enabled the “force trade” option when he swapped for Stephon Gilmore on Wednesday, because this sure feels like a video game.

So, let’s get down to brass tax. What exactly is on the move in this deal with the New England Patriots and how will the financials work themselves out?

Well, we’ll start with the simplest part . . .

The Deal

Carolina receives: CB Stephon Gilmore
New England receives: 2023 sixth-round pick

Easy enough, right?

But what about the money? That is, in fact, what got the Patriots and Gilmore to this complicated point.

The Money

Contract: five years, $65 million (final year)
2021 salary-cap number: $16.2 million
Roster bonus: $411,765
New England has paid: $7 million
Carolina will pay
: $5.05 million
Current cap hit: $5.7 million

The most relevant detail, at least in this case, is that last one. The Panthers will now be taking on Gilmore and C.J. Henderson at a combined cap hit of $7.1 million for the remainder of the year in exchange for tight end Dan Arnold, a 2022 third-round pick and that 2023 sixth-rounder.

Not too shabby.

Now, what happens beyond 2021, when Gilmore is free of the contract?

The Fallout

Panthers’ projected 2022 cap space: $45.57 million
Gilmore’s projected market value: $14.2 million
Compensation if Gilmore leaves via free agency: 2023 fifth-round pick
(*Projections according to spotrac.com)

While there is no guarantee of an extension between the two parties, that does remain a possibility following the 2021 campaign. And if one does materialize, it won’t be particularly cheap.

But as 10th-year veteran, Gilmore could return a fifth-round compensation pick to Carolina if he signs elsewhere this upcoming offseason. So, in theory, the Panthers could’ve just upgraded their 2023 sixth into a fifth at the cost of allowing Gilmore and his very affordable $5.7-million cap hit to play out the rest of the season with them.

All hail, Scott Fitterer.

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