Another offseason, another restricted free agent leaves the Buffalo Bills for the New England Patriots. The Patriots will forfeit their fifth-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft in return for Gillislee's services.
According to published reports, Gillislee's contract will be worth $6.4 million over two years, including a $4 million share for this coming season. The Bills could have kept a productive back for the difference of about $1 million with a higher tender offer. After backing up LeSean McCoy last season, Gillislee rushed the ball 101 times for 577 yards and eight touchdowns.
Had the Patriots not been able to acquire Gillislee, the team would have been in the market to draft a running back. Gillislee was selected in the fifth round by the Miami Dolphins in 2013. Last year, he led the National Football League with 5.7 yards per carry on 101 attempts.
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Gillislee's addition increases the likelihood unrestricted free agent LeGarrette Blount won't be re-signed after leading New England in rushing last season. He scored three touchdowns over those games, earning him the nickname "Touchdown Mike" from then-coach Rex Ryan.
For the Bills, this means that they will likely have to find a backup running back somewhere in free agency or the draft.
The Bills announced, after taking the full five days to make their decision, that they will not match the offer sheet Gillislee was given by the Patriots early last week.