The Indianapolis Colts caught another big fish.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported Friday the Colts are signing corner Stephon Gilmore to a two-year contract, per sources informed of the situation. The deal is worth around $23 million, according to Pelissero, per a source.
Gilmore visited Indy on Wednesday.
The former AP Defensive Player of the Year is the latest splash signing owner Jim Irsay intimated could be coming down the pike for a team that views itself as a Super Bowl candidate behind new quarterback Matt Ryan.
Gilmore is a five-time Pro Bowler and a sticky cover man when healthy. After five seasons in Buffalo, Gilmore signed a big-money contract in New England in 2017, where he was the centerpiece of Bill Belichick's secondary. However, a quad injury and contract dispute led to his exit from the Patriots in 2021. He was traded to Carolina in early October, where he played in eight games.
Gilmore's coverage stats have declined since his 2019 DPOY season. In 2019 he allowed a 49.0 completion percentage, one touchdown, six interceptions and a 47.4 passer rating. In 2020-2021, Gilmore allowed a 65.6 completion percentage, four TDs, three INTs, and a 91.2 passer rating.
While the 31-year-old might have lost a step, he is a significant upgrade for the Colts. Playing alongside dynamic slot corner Kenny Moore, Gilmore can match up with top receivers on the outside.
The Colts allowed 32 pass TDs (2nd-most in NFL) and 234.1 pass YPG (19th in NFL) in 2021. The hope is that a rejuvenated Gilmore can help plug that leak.
It's the latest move for the Colts to upgrade a roster that fell short of the postseason last year. While the offense swapped Carson Wentz for Ryan, most of general manager Chris Ballard's work has come on the defensive side of the ball. He traded corner Rock Ya-Sin for dynamic edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, signed corner Brandon Facyson, safeties Rodney McLeod and Armani Watts, and linebacker Brandon King.
Now he adds a former DPOY.
On paper, the Colts defense looks stacked, led by defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard, Ngakoue, linebacker Bobby Okereke, second-year edge rushers Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo, safety Julian Blackmon returning from injury, and now Gilmore.
After the 2021 season, Irsay promised big moves were coming. It took a few months, but the splash moves have arrived in Indy.