Stephon Gilmore update provides fresh hope for Carolina Panthers return

Could this be good news for the Carolina Panthers?
Stephon Gilmore
Stephon Gilmore / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Morgan stated before the 2024 NFL Draft that the Carolina Panthers could potentially revisit the possibility of acquiring cornerback Stephon Gilmore. There is mutual interest in a return to the franchise despite leaving under a cloud under the previous regime in 2021 - something that was met with widespread approval among the fanbase given the questions around those within Ejiro Evero's secondary.

Drafting Chau Smith-Wade with one of his late-round selections shouldn't prevent Morgan from going back to Gilmore. They are desperately short of dependable outside options. Relying on former first-round pick Jaycee Horn to stay healthy for an entire campaign is also unwise looking at his torrid run of luck since entering the league.

Stephon Gilmore update gives Carolina Panthers window of opportunity

Gilmore might be a little long in the tooth, but his production last season indicates there could be a couple more good years left before the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year walks away from the gridiron. The money needs to work, but playing closer to home and alongside his old high school and college teammate Jadeveon Clowney makes this a realistic outcome if Carolina sees fit.

The latest update on Gilmore's future provides fresh hope that a deal can be reached. After Ezekiel Elliott returned to the Dallas Cowboys and took the No. 15 he wore in college at Ohio State, many speculated whether this was to leave No. 21 open for the veteran defensive back to come back into the fold.

This notion was quashed by Michael Gehlken from the Dallas Morning News. The reporter claimed that there was nothing imminent on the immediate horizon between Gilmore and the Cowboys despite fans trying to make something of Elliott's number change after making his bombshell return to the franchise.

Gilmore is one of the most accomplished free agents remaining on the market. It wouldn't be a surprise if Dallas made an effort to bring him back at some stage, but they have more pressing priorities.

Working out long-term extensions with CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons has hampered their ability to spend money elsewhere this offseason. There's also the small matter of quarterback Dak Prescott entering the final year of his contract to factor into the equation.

This could work in Carolina's favor if they resume negotiations with Gilmore in the not-too-distant future. They'd need to move some money around without much financial wiggle room as it stands, but new salary-cap manager Brandt Tilis has done an outstanding job this offseason at working contracts to benefit the team. If anyone can make this deal work, it's the former Kansas City Chiefs front-office executive.

Even if nothing is on the immediate horizon with the Cowboys, there could be a few other teams looking to secure Gilmore's services now the draft's concluded. The Panthers could still be in pole position to pull off this transaction given Clowney's revelation about his desire to come on board. At the same time, the chance of him signing elsewhere grows with every passing day.

It'll be interesting to see how things play out. The Panthers need cornerback help. Gilmore wants to come back by all accounts. This looks like an opportunity Morgan would be wise not to waste.

Anything less could see the same complications emerge.