It is really quite hard to understand because separating out firmware makes it easy for users to exclude it and you don't consider it a win in any way. That's puzzling and I don't buy that.
After the firmware is moved into a separate tarball, Linux kernel is fully Free software by FSF standards and at that point, I don't see much of a benefit to linux-libre. Users will have a clear option to install or exclude the firmware as per their needs and that's fine by me. I suppose you are going to continue patching all the firmware requests but you cannot deny that it will reduce the effort and has benefited your goals by doing so. David Woodhouse deserves the credit for his effort.