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Will the Bengals, Chiefs, or Chargers sign the former All-Pro corner?

The second wave of the 2022 NFL free agency period is off and running at a furious pace. As players continue to sign during free agency, rumors for CB Stephon Gilmore continue to be discussed. Which NFL teams need additional defensive back help and could benefit the most from acquiring Gilmore in free agency?

Rumors for Stephon Gilmore in 2022 NFL free agency

Having spent last season with the Carolina Panthers, Gilmore is likely looking for one final multi-year deal before hanging up the cleats on a productive career. The 31-year-old cornerback spent last season with the Carolina Panthers, playing out the final year of his five-year, $65 million contract signed back in 2017 with the New England Patriots. Spotrac currently projects Gilmore’s market value to be a two-year deal worth $28.2 million.

Unfortunately for Gilmore, his stock took a dip due to injuries that hampered his 2021 season. He began the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list as he recovered from a quad tear from the prior year. He played eight games as a rotational corner and allowed a 68% completion rate when targeted (15-of-22) with 2 interceptions and 16 tackles. With an estimated contract value of $28.2 million over two seasons, where do we predict Gilmore will sign during free agency?

Kansas City Chiefs

The AFC West has been nuts this offseason. At least they have given us all a chance to catch our collective breath, but I don’t see that lasting much longer.

All of these moves have taken place by teams sick of being taken to the woodshed by the Chiefs for the last several years. Now, it’s time for Kansas City to make some moves.

The primary need is for defensive backs, a position that is starting to become a concern for the defense. CB Charvarius Ward signed a three-year deal with the 49ers, and Mike Hughes is now a Lion. Also, Tyrann Mathieu is unlikely to return, as the Chiefs signed former Texan S Justin Reid. So what about cornerback?

L’Jarius Sneed has been a success in his short time in the NFL, but they need more given the WR/QB talent in the division. Adding Gilmore alongside him would be a substantial move by the Chiefs. It might take Gilmore signing for a slightly lower price given the Chiefs’ salary cap space, but going to a team like Kansas City would be worth it.

Cincinnati Bengals

While it might be a touch early to be giving out free agency grades, the Bengals get an A from me so far. They have focused on protecting Joe Burrow and brought Jessie Bates III back for at least the 2022 season. Hopefully, both sides can work towards a long-term deal.

Gilmore could be another addition and a great one at that. Cincinnati played well but had a few holes in coverage, with many coming from Eli Apple. Gilmore would be a great option as the primary CB while letting Mike Hilton stay in the slot.

Los Angeles Chargers

To me, the Chargers make a ton of sense for Gilmore. Los Angeles is going all-in for a title as noted by their trade for Khalil Mack. The AFC West is stacked with talent, but so are the Chargers. Adding Gilmore via free agency would give their secondary a much-needed boost.

You cannot have enough corners in the NFL. While the signing of J.C. Jackson is massive, Gilmore is not out of the cards. He can play in a rotation with Asante Samuel Jr., who missed time with concussions in the latter stages of last season. This would also push Michael Davis into the CB4 role, which would be a better spot given his coverage lapses last season.

With Derwin James patrolling deep and a lethal pass rush from Joey Bosa and Mack, the Chargers are a team to be feared. Add Gilmore, and predictions of a Chargers appearance in the Super Bowl become even more prevalent.

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