Through three weeks of Organized Team Activities, the Buffalo Bills had almost every single player filter through at one point or another. All, except for the team's top cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Gilmore stayed away from the team's voluntary workouts, mostly because of his current contract status with the team. He's entering the final year of his contract, and it's clear that the cornerback wants a long-term, lucrative contract extension from the Bills.
The team picked up the fifth-year option on Gilmore that will pay him over $11 million in 2016 -- that is, unless the two sides can come to an agreement. The cornerback made his way to Orchard Park this week for the start of mandatory minicamp, mostly to avoid getting fined by the team.
However, even though he was in attendance, it didn't mean he was going to be a full participant. Gilmore abstained from practice in any capacity on Tuesday, instead just watching from the sidelines as his teammates worked out. It's not an unprecedented action by a player locked in a contract squabble with his team.
The bigger question is what type of impact this would have on training camp, and if he'll even show up to St. John Fisher College. When asked to clarify if he'd be at training camp at the start of it in late July, Gilmore served up an interesting answer.
"I’ll compete, whenever I get there," Gilmore peculiarly started. "I’m going to compete and I’m going to work on my craft in training camp, and carry that over into the season, have a great year, and see what happens."
The 'whenever I get there' is the most ominous part of the statement, and it required a follow up. Might Gilmore actually consider holding out from training camp at the start if he doesn't have a new deal in place?
"I mean, we'll see."
In the offseason, a pair of top flight cornerbacks got paid huge contracts. Janoris Jenkins signed with the New York Giants on a five-year, $62.5 million contract that will pay $28.8 million guaranteed. After that, Washington inked Josh Norman to a five-year, $70 million deal, in which $50 million is guaranteed.
Basically, the price of admission for top cornerbacks around the league is going up in a big way. Bills head coach Rex Ryan is leaving that side of things up to the front office.
"He’s staying up on everything but any negotiation, all those types of things, that’s him, that's on him," Ryan said. "I’m never going to interfere with that, that’s not my job and things. Do I want him here? Of course."
After the three-day minicamp this week, the Bills will have roughly a month-and-a-half to get Gilmore signed to a long-term extension. If they don't, we'll find out what Gilmore really meant when he said 'we'll see.'