Wednesday began with the news that the Patriots were set to release veteran cornerback and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore if they could not find a trade partner, which led to inevitable and immediate speculation that Seattle could be interested.

But the speculation ended almost as quickly as it began as a few hours later the Patriots traded Gilmore to Carolina for a sixth-round pick in 2023.

Did the Seahawks — whose cornerback position has undergone significant change this year and remains a work in progress — make a run at Gilmore before Carolina snatched him up?

Coach Pete Carroll was asked that Wednesday and responded as he usually does.

“As I’ve told you guys because this comes straight from (general manager) John’s (Schneider) personnel department — we are in on everything,” Carroll said.

Given that vague response, how much of a run the Seahawks figures to remain unknown.


Gilmore grew up in South Carolina and played collegiately at the University of South Carolina, and it’s thought he favored a return home if he were not going to stay with the Patriots. Tampa Bay, which last week signed Richard Sherman, was also considered a strong suitor for Gilmore as was Dallas.

And while players can’t necessarily force where they get traded, that Gilmore might be more inclined to re-sign with the Panthers after the season due to his ties to the area might have made a trade with Carolina a little cleaner (Carolina’s GM, it’s worth noting, is longtime Seahawks personnel Scott Fitterer, who is in his first year with the Panthers).

And while Gilmore is a four-time Pro Bowl pick — including last season when he played just 11 games due to a quad injury — and two-time All-Pro selection, there are reasons the Seahawks might not have gone after him too aggressively.

Gilmore is 31 and coming off surgery to repair the quad injury and won’t be eligible to begin practicing until Oct. 18.

Carroll has talked often of the time it takes cornerbacks to acclimate to Seattle’s system and given that Gilmore has yet to practice this year and would have some learning to do he might not have been able to help the Seahawks until November though Fitterer said Wednesday that the Panthers hope he can play immediately.

Seattle also hasn’t had a great run of success in the Carroll era with veteran cornerbacks who aren’t familiar with the system, especially the step-kick technique (Cary Williams being one example, Quinton Dunbar another).


Gilmore also carries a hefty contract — Gilmore has a $5.7 million cap hit for the rest of the season which by itself would the fifth-highest of any Seahawk for the entire season behind only Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Duane Brown and Tyler Lockett.

And as noted, Gilmore also will be a free agent at the end of this season. He had wanted an extension with the Patriots but will play out his deal with the Panthers.

Carroll also seems excited by the prospects of rookie Tre Brown, who returned to practice this week after missing the first four games with a knee injury. Brown has not been activated for Thursday’s game against the Rams, but he could be next week and Carroll said in training camp he was making a legitimate run at a starting spot before the injury.

Seattle, for now, also appears to have settled on a new cornerback starting duo of former Husky Sidney Jones on the left side and D.J. Reed on the right. Seattle went with that pairing last week in a 28-21 win over the 49ers, with Carroll deciding to bench Tre Flowers to get Jones in the lineup and move Reed to the right side, where he has his most experience.

Brown played left cornerback in the two exhibition games he participated in before being shelved, and figures to now compete with Jones on that side once he is activated.

Seattle also claimed former Jets starter Bless Austin off waivers, and he is listed as Reed’s backup and could get time in upcoming games, as well.

And maybe Carroll really thinks that what Seattle has on hand is good enough. The Seahawks were known not to be involved with Sherman at the end before he signed with Tampa Bay, though his legal issues were also thought to be a factor.