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Patriots part with Stephon Gilmore, send four-time Pro Bowl CB to Panthers

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The New England Patriots traded four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday.

Gilmore, 31, is currently on the physically unable to perform list with a torn quad that required offseason surgery. He was eligible to return to action after Week 6.

Prior to the trade, Patriots coach Bill Belichick described the split as a mutual agreement between Gilmore and the team.

"I am grateful to Stephon Gilmore for his significant contributions to our team," Belichick said in a statement. "It was a privilege and pleasure to coach Steph, I appreciate him for the true professional and class act that he is and wish him all the best in the future."

Gilmore posted on social media, "It is with mixed emotions that I announce my goodbye to this great fan base." He also thanked Patriots owner Robert Kraft, the coaches and his teammates.

Gilmore spent the past four-plus seasons with the Patriots, establishing himself as one of the league's top cornerbacks. He won Super Bowl LIII with New England.

He made the Pro Bowl each of the last three years, and in 2019, was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year, recording 53 tackles and six interceptions. He played in 11 games last year.

11. Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots (2017)
11. Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots (2017)

Gilmore was in the last season of a five-year, $65 million deal and was due to make $7.2 million in base salary for the 2021 campaign.

He spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Stephon Gilmore traded: Patriots send CB to Panthers