The Lions hosted and worked out free agent running back Mike Gillislee on Thursday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Lions showed interest in him after he missed the Patriots’ cut in 2018, Rapoport notes, so this could be a good fit for the 28-year-old.
Gillislee enjoyed a breakout season in 2016 as he averaged 5.7 yards per carry on 101 handoffs with the Bills. In the following offseason, the Pats signed him to a two-year, $6.4MM deal, but he didn’t get a ton of opportunities in 2017, outside of his three-touchdown performance in Week 1. After missing the cut in 2018, Gillislee hooked on with the Saints. He averaged just 2.7 yards in the first four games of the year and was pushed aside after Mark Ingram returned from suspension.
The Lions could view Gillislee as a decent backup option behind star Kerryon Johnson. LeGarrette Blount didn’t do much last year with the Lions and he’s scheduled to reach free agency on March 13. Like Blount, Gillislee also has experience with coach Matt Patricia dating back to their days in New England.
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