Oct 10, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Bears’ Justin Fields, Panthers’ Stephon Gilmore enter COVID protocol

Quarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears and cornerback Stephon Gilmore of the Carolina Panthers were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday in advance of their teams’ season finales this weekend.

Both the Bears and Panthers have been eliminated from playoff contention in the NFC.

Fields didn’t play in a Week 17 victory over the New York Giants because of an ankle injury, but coach Matt Nagy had said Wednesday that Fields would start this weekend when the Bears (6-10) face the Vikings (7-9) in Minnesota.

The starting job Sunday will fall to veteran Andy Dalton if Fields isn’t released from the protocol before game time.

Fields, the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is 2-8 as a starter. He’s completed just 58.9 percent of his pass attempts for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Gilmore, acquired by the Panthers in a trade with the New England Patriots in October, has played in eight games (three starts) for Carolina. The 31-year-old, a two-time All-Pro, had two interceptions, two passes defensed and 16 tackles on the season.

The Panthers also on Thursday placed rookie wide receiver Shi Smith on the COVID list. He has six catches for 104 yards in six games.

The Panthers (5-11) will end their season Sunday at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4).

–Field Level Media

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore reportedly is holding out of mandatory minicamp.

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CB Stephon Gilmore to make Panthers debut

Carolina activated Stephon Gilmore from the physically unable to perform list Saturday and the All-Pro cornerback will make his Panthers debut Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons

The Panthers acquired Gilmore in a trade with the New England Patriots on Oct. 6, giving up a 2023 sixth-round draft pick.

The 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Gilmore has been on the PUP list this season while recovering from surgery for a torn quad in December. He was eligible to return starting in Week 7.

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 had made it clear to the Patriots that he wanted to be among the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, but the two sides were unable to agree on a restructured deal.

Byron Jones of the Miami Dolphins is the top-paid cornerback at $16.1 million, according to Spotrac.

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 recoveries. He has intercepted 25 passes and returned them for 452 yards, including two touchdowns.

Gilmore, 31, is a native of Rock Hill, S.C., located about 30 miles from the Panthers’ home in Charlotte, N.C. He still lives in the area.

The Panthers (3-4), who have lost four straight games, also placed defensive end Darryl Johnson (hamstring) on injured reserve and promoted wide receiver Keith Kirkwood and punter Lachlan Edwards from the practice squad ahead of Sunday’s game at Atlanta (3-3).

–Field Level Media

Michael Carter of the Jets is tackled by J.C. Jackson of the Patriots in the first half as the New England Patriots played the NY Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on September 19, 2021.

The New England Patriots Came To Play The Ny Jets At Metlife Stadium In East Rutherford Nj On September 19 2021

Patriots’ J.C. Jackson ‘shocked’ by Stephon Gilmore trade

New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson said his desire to improve his game has not changed since Stephon Gilmore was traded to the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday.

“I still have the same mentality every day, and that’s to compete and get better,” Jackson said on Thursday.

Jackson admitted he was “shocked” by the Gilmore trade, noting that the All-Pro had served as a mentor to him since he joined the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland iin 2018.

Jackson referenced Gilmore’s demeanor and the way that he prepared to compete in each game.

“Just the mentality he had to go out and compete every week, facing the No. 1 receiver,” Jackson said. “He never got too high, never got too low. He just stayed focused and competed every week.”

Jackson, 25, has recorded 17 tackles and two interceptions in four games this season for New England (1-3), which visits the Houston Texans (0-4) on Sunday.

Jackson has 117 tackles and 19 interceptions in 49 career games with the Patriots.

Gilmore, 31, was the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a four-time Pro Bowl selection. He was in the final season of a five-year, $65 million deal signed with the Patriots in 2017. He had made it clear to the Patriots that he wanted to be among the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, but the two sides were unable to agree on a restructured deal.

–Field Level Media

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

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

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore reportedly is holding out of mandatory minicamp.

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Report: Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore to open season on PUP list

The New England Patriots will open the season without cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Gilmore was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List after being largely limited in preseason.

The designation means Gilmore must sit out at least the first six games of the season. He is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn quadriceps muscle and ended last season on injured reserve after 11 games.

Gilmore, who turns 31 in September, is scheduled to make $7 million in base salary in 2021, the final year of his current contract. He skipped the Patriots’ mandatory minicamp and has made it clear he’s seeking a new deal.

Gilmore, he 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was a first-team All-Pro in New England in 2018 and 2019.

The Patriots need to trim the roster to 53 by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. By adding Gilmore to the PUP list, he won’t count against that number.

–Field Level Media

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

Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore expresses contract frustration with tweet

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore wants to be paid like one of the best defensive backs in the NFL.

He said as much Tuesday with one two-word tweet.

CBS Sports tweeted a list of the 10 highest-paid defensive backs in the league, which now appears to have been deleted. Gilmore, who did not crack the list, quote-tweeted the list with the succinct message, “Oh ok.”

Gilmore, 30, skipped the Patriots’ mandatory minicamp as he seeks a new deal. He is scheduled to make $7 million in base salary in 2021, the final year of his current contract. The Athletic reported that the Patriots and Gilmore have not made much progress on a new agreement.

Gilmore was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2018 and 2019, won 2019 Defensive Player of the Year and made the Pro Bowl in four of the last five seasons.

In nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2012-16) and Patriots (2017-20), Gilmore has started 122 of 124 games and recorded 25 interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns. He also has forced six fumbles and recovered three.

–Field Level Media

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

Stephon Gilmore a no-show, Cam Newton full-go at Pats’ camp

Two-time All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore is not at the first day of mandatory minicamp for the New England Patriots on Monday, multiple outlets reported.

Quarterback Cam Newton, however, is a full-go after injuring his hand during OTAs.

Missing Monday’s session would cost Gilmore $15,000, while missing all three days would rack up a total of roughly $93,000 in fines. Gilmore skipped all of the Pats’ voluntary workouts.

Gilmore is coming off surgery on his quadriceps, an injury that cost him the final two games of the 2020 season. Gilmore also missed time after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in the season. He recorded three pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble and 37 total tackles in 11 games played last season.

It’s unclear the reason for Gilmore’s absence on Monday.

Gilmore, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, is in the final year of a five-year, $65 contract and is scheduled to earn just $7 million this season, well below market value. However, the team last year moved $4.5 million of this year’s salary into his 2020 compensation, a boost in response to Gilmore’s DPOY from the prior season.

Newton, 32, sustained a bone bruise in his right hand during a June 4 practice session but showed up Friday and threw the ball quite a bit, per reports.

Newton re-signed with the Patriots on a one-year deal in March after going 7-8 and passing for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first season with New England in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) leaves the field after warming up before a game against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots CB Gilmore exits with knee injury

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore left Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins after sustaining a non-contact left knee injury.

The Patriots said the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year was doubtful to return.

The injury happened with about three minutes left in the second quarter as he was covering receiver Mack Collins. Gilmore was backpedaling and his feet slipped on the grass when he attempted to put on the brakes. He immediately grabbed his lower left leg.

Gilmore, 30, was evaluated in the sideline medical tent and then helped to the locker room.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection entered Sunday’s game in Miami with 35 tackles, three passes defensed and one interception this season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) leaves the field after warming up before a game against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots CB Gilmore ruled out vs. Bills

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore has been ruled out of Sunday’s road game against the Buffalo Bills with a knee injury, the team announced.

The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year tweaked his knee in a collision in practice on Thursday and underwent an MRI exam, per reports. He didn’t practice on Friday and officially had been listed as questionable on the team’s injury report.

Gilmore, 30, has recorded 20 tackles and one interception in six games this season for the Patriots (2-4).

Cornerback J.C. Jackson is expected to replace Gilmore in Sunday’s game versus the Bills (5-2) in Orchard Park, N.Y.

New England also ruled out rookie safety Kyle Dugger (ankle) and rookie offensive lineman Justin Herron (ankle) on Saturday.

Dugger has recorded 16 tackles in five games since being selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Herron has played in six games since being picked in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media