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Panthers acquire cornerback Stephon Gilmore

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CHARLOTTE — Stephon Gilmore is coming home.

The Panthers traded for the veteran cornerback Wednesday, sending a 2023 sixth-rounder to New England.

The 31-year-old Rock Hill native adds some stability and credibility to their secondary, which has been hit hard by injuries this season.

Gilmore was named Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2018 and 2019.

Originally a first-round pick of the Bills in 2012, Gilmore signed a five-year, $65 million deal with the Patriots in 2017.

He suffered a quad injury late last season, and was placed on the physically unable to perform list to start this season. He'd have been eligible to return after Week 6, but the Patriots were expected to release him after they couldn't agree to a restructured contract. He'll be able to make his debut for the Panthers in Week 7 against the Giants.

A former Mr. Football in South Carolina, Gilmore led South Pointe High to the 2008 state title his senior year. Playing alongside 2014 No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, Gilmore quarterbacked the Stallions to a 15-0 record before heading to the University of South Carolina.

He still lives in the area in the offseason, so settling in for him will be easy.

The Panthers have Donte Jackson and veteran nickel A.J. Bouye, but were relying on a mixed bag last week after first-round pick Jaycee Horn was lost to a broken foot. They're also without veteran safety Juston Burris, who is on IR with a groin injury..

They traded for former top-10 pick CJ Henderson but they're still easing the 23-year-old cornerback into his role, and they also have veteran Rashaan Melvin, along with young corners Keith Taylor Jr. and Stantley Thomas-Oliver III .

View photos of Gilmore from his years with the Patriots (2017-21) and Bills (2012-16).

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