For the second consecutive year the New England Patriots reportedly are showing interest in a Buffalo Bills restricted free agent.
The Patriots recently hosted restricted free-agent running back Mike Gillislee, a source told NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. The Bills gave Gillislee an original-round tender, meaning the Patriots would have to give up a fifth-round draft pick to acquire him.
The Patriots signed wide receiver Chris Hogan to an offer sheet last offseason. The Bills failed to match, and the Patriots weren’t required to give up any compensation to add Hogan since he came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent, and the Bills gave him an original-round tender.
The Patriots also signed Bills unrestricted free-agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore this offseason.
If the Patriots want to acquire Gillislee, their next step is to sign him to an offer sheet. The Bills then would have to decide if they wanted to match that offer sheet to bring back the free-agent running back. If they declined to match, they would receive the Patriots’ fifth-round pick, and Gillislee would go to New England.
Gillislee, 26, averaged 5.7 yards per carry last season with 101 carries for 577 yards with eight touchdowns. He also caught nine passes for 50 yards. The 5-foot-11, 219-pound running back has 154 career carries for 865 yards with 11 scores and 15 catches for 79 yards with one touchdown.
He was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Florida. He spent time on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad before joining the Bills in 2015.
Gillislee ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 7.12-second three-cone, 4.40-second short shuttle, 30.5-inch vertical leap and 9-foot, 11-inch broad jump.
The Patriots already signed free agent running back Rex Burkhead to a one-year contract this offseason. They also have James White, Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden and D.J. Foster on their roster. LeGarrette Blount remains an unrestricted free agent.
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