Sports

Bills pick up 5th-year option on Stephon Gilmore’s contract

Line judge John Hussey separates Minnesota Vikings' Greg Jennings (15) and Buffalo Bills' Stephon Gilmore (24) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Line judge John Hussey separates Minnesota Vikings' Greg Jennings (15) and Buffalo Bills' Stephon Gilmore (24) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. RockHill

The Buffalo Bills have secured cornerback Stephon Gilmore through the 2016 season by exercising their right to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

The team announced the decision in a news release issued Tuesday, after the Bills opened a three-day voluntary veteran minicamp.

It’s a blessing obviously this team drafted me,” Gilmore told the Bills’ team web site. “They invested in me and it’s a blessing that they picked my fifth year up. And I’m just happy to be out here with my teammates and do whatever I can to help this team.”

Gilmore, the former South Pointe Stallion and Rock Hill native, has been a three-year starter in Buffalo since being selected with the 10th pick in the 2012 draft out of South Carolina.

Since Gilmore was drafted in the top 10 picks in 2012, his fifth-year option is equal to the league’s transition tag for the cornerback position. That salary - over $10 million - would make the former Stallion and Gamecock one of the top-10 best paid cornerbacks in the NFL in 2016. He would be an unrestricted free agent in 2017, unless the Bills re-sign him in advance.

The news comes on the heels of a 2014 season in which Gilmore had a career-best three interceptions. For his career, Gilmore has six interceptions and has been credited with 32 passes defended in 41 career games, including 39 starts.

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