New England Patriots

Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots leaves the field after the Patriots defeated the Bengals 34-13 in the game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

It’s Cryptic Tweet Season™ in the NFL. No one in sports media should be above reading too much into tweets. If only to crack jokes about it.

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore has been known to fire off the occasional cryptic tweet, and his latest comes days after he mysteriously deactivated his Twitter and Instagram accounts on Monday. Both pages are back as of this writing on Wednesday, but the most recent Instagram post is from Dec. 7, 2020. For what it’s worth, he hasn’t removed Patriots references from his accounts, so we’re not going there.

On Twitter, though, Gilmore tweeted Wednesday morning: “If I didn’t sacrifice I wouldn’t be where I’m at now so I’m going to keep sacrificing”. There’s a “100” emoji in there.

Stephon Gilmore sent a cryptic tweet on Wednesday, days after mysteriously deleting his social media accounts. (Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Stephon Gilmore sent a cryptic tweet on Wednesday, days after mysteriously deleting his social media accounts. (Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Easily the first thing to point to is Gilmore’s contract – in a good way. Per Pats cap expert Miguel Benzan, Gilmore is due a $7 million salary and $343,750 in roster bonuses (11 games for $31,250 each). He got a raise for 2020, but at the expense of his 2021 pay. The Patriots could create $7,343,750 in cap space if they trade or release Gilmore this offseason. But they also have plenty of space already, and could easily sign Gilmore to an extension if they so desired.

So if Gilmore is referring to his contract with the “sacrifice” comment, that could actually be a good sign for the Patriots. They already got him for a little less than Revis-level value back in 2017, despite the contract being uncharacteristically lucrative for a Bill Belichick signing. Is Belichick still going to be able to sell guys on … sacrificing … a little bit on the financial side? Is a master plan afoot at quarterback that Gilmore knows about?

MORE: Beware running Stephon Gilmore out of town

Sorry for all the questions, but it’s fun to ask them. We’re in a fun time of year in the NFL. The cryptic tweets are starting to get fun.

And this tweet is a reminder that Gilmore has been one of the more underplayed Patriots storylines in recent weeks. What will Belichick do with him? We’re talking about their best defensive player of the last three years. The status of Gilmore is arguably the biggest roster question outside of quarterback.

It’s possible the deleted accounts and the new tweet have nothing to do with the Patriots. And it’s harder to come up with a way that this tweet might be bad for Belichick. But the cryptic nature of it certainly makes you wonder what’s up.

Alex Barth and I talked about Gilmore on a Pats Pod back in October. A lot of it is still relevant into 2021. Have a listen below.

Patriots Podcast: Should they trade Stephon Gilmore now or later?

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at