New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 24: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots looks on before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

There will be no release for Stephon Gilmore. Instead, the Patriots have accomplished their goal of finding a last-minute trade partner.

As first reported by Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus, the Carolina Panthers are the team that decided to acquire Gilmore and keep him from hitting the open market. Per Kyed, they are sending a 2023 sixth-round pick to New England for Gilmore.

The 31-year-old Gilmore is currently on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which forces him to miss at least the first six weeks of the season. The trade is a homecoming of sorts for Gilmore, a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina who played college football for the Gamecocks.

Carolina is 3-1 on the season, coming off its first loss of the season on the road against the Dallas Cowboys. They drafted South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn, who drew pre-draft comparisons to Gilmore, in the first round of the 2021 draft. But Horn is currently on injured reserve with a foot fracture that’s expected to sideline him multiple months.

The Panthers also have Donte Jackson, Rashaan Melvin, A.J. Bouye, C.J. Henderson, and Keith Taylor on their cornerback depth chart. Gilmore, the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, certainly pushes everyone else down a spot.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick issued a statement on Gilmore Wednesday morning, describing the situation as a mutual decision to part ways. Belichick expressed his appreciation for Gilmore as a player and person to open his Wednesday press conference, but declined to address the situation after that.

MORE: Details emerge about Stephon Gilmore’s departure from Patriots

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. 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 and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.