Mike Gillislee

Saints Sign RB Mike Gillislee

The Saints are adding a running back, signing veteran Mike Gillislee according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Rapsheet reports that it’s a one-year deal for Gillislee. The Saints were looking for running back help with Mark Ingram suspended for the first four games of the season. Saints coach Sean Payton has emphasized over and over that the team wants to avoid putting too much wear on Alvin Kamara, so Gillislee could play a significant role on early downs.

Gillislee was cut by the Patriots as they trimmed their roster to 53 yesterday. New England was very high on Gillislee when they signed him away from the Bills as a restricted free agent before the 2017 season. He scored three touchdowns in week one of last year, but his role gradually decreased as the season went on and he was a healthy scratch down the stretch.

The writing was on the wall for Gillislee when the Patriots signed Jeremy Hill in free agency and drafted Sony Michel in the first round of this year’s draft. He now finds a new home in New Orleans after the Saints surprisingly cut preseason star Jonathan Williams yesterday. They wasted no time bringing in Gillislee, and he should stick with the team the entire season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mike Gillislee To Visit Saints

Running back Mike Gillislee, whom the Patriots released yesterday, is visiting with the Saints this morning, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). As Herbie Teope of NFL.com tweets, New Orleans would be a logical fit for Gillislee, as the club currently has just two running backs on the active roster after yesterday’s cuts (Alvin Kamara and rookie Boston Scott).

Last offseason, Gillislee signed with New England as a restricted free agent after an excellent 2016 campaign in Buffalo. But despite a three-touchdown debut for the Pats in the 2017 season opener, he could not carve out much of a role in Foxborough, and his release yesterday was anything but surprising. He finished his New England tenure with 383 rushing yards (3.7 per carry) and five touchdowns.

But the 27-year-old has plenty of ability, and he and Kamara could form a nice 1-2 punch in the Big Easy. When Mark Ingram returns from suspension, that trio would represent one of the best RB corps in the league, especially as they have complementary skill-sets.

Gillislee, a Florida product, was selected by the Dolphins in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He has spent his entire career in the AFC East, having played two seasons in Miami, two in Buffalo, and one in New England.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Make Roster Cuts

The Patriots are the latest team to move to 53 players by making the following transactions:

Placed on injured reserve:


New England kept only three true wide receivers on its initial roster, meaning the club will almost surely be searching for more options on the waiver wire.

Patriots Release RB Mike Gillislee

This is breaking news. Please refresh for updates.

The Patriots have released running back Mike Gillislee, according to Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).

Rumored as a cut candidate throughout the offseason, Gillislee will indeed have to look for a job elsewhere after his Patriots stay did not go as anticipated.

One of the NFL’s most productive runners on a per-carry basis in 2016, averaging 5.7 yards per carry on 101 handoffs with the Bills, he did not pick up where he left off with the Patriots. After a three-touchdown opener last season, Gillislee was phased out of the Pats’ rotation. And this year, New England added Jeremy Hill and Sony Michel to its backfield mix.

Now 27, Gillislee has spent his entire career in the AFC East — two years with the Dolphins, two with the Bills and two offseasons with the Patriots. He finished his New England tenure with 383 rushing yards (3.7 per carry) and five touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Bolts, Washington

Paxton Lynch joins the likes of Ameer Abdullah, Breshad Perriman, Stephone Anthony and Mike Gillislee on a roster bubble, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter), and the Broncos may choose to cut ties with their disappointing 2016 first-rounder. Lynch would prefer to stay in Denver, Mike Klis of 9News tweets, despite his rocky tenure there to date. A fresh start might be best for the former Memphis prodigy, but the Broncos may elect to keep him as their No. 3 quarterback. Chad Kelly‘s performance in Denver’s Thursday-night finale could determine Lynch’s fate, with Troy Renck of Denver7 writing that a strong showing from the 2017 seventh-rounder may convince the Broncos he’s ready to be Case Keenum‘s regular-season backup rather than forcing the Broncos to acquire a veteran to serve in that role. That would seemingly free up a roster spot for Lynch as the third-stringer. It would cost the Broncos $4.9MM to cut Lynch. They already absorbed a $5.5MM dead-money hit upon releasing Menelik Watson.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West, shifting to another quarterback battle.

  • The Chargers are likely to keep just two quarterbacks, which makes sense given Philip Rivers‘ historic durability. Los Angeles’ starter has taken first-string snaps in every game since succeeding Drew Brees in 2006. As a result, Yates adds that either Cardale Jones or Geno Smith is a cut candidate. The Bolts, though, aren’t certain which one will be given his walking papers. Smith is a vested veteran and would head into free agency if released, while Jones would be subject to waivers. Neither is attached to a contract worth more than $1MM.
  • Su’a Cravens will make his Broncos debut Thursday night after missing most of August due to a knee injury, Renck notes. The former Redskins safety/linebacker has a clearer path to the Broncos’ roster, despite missing most of training camp, due to Jamal Carter‘s season-ending injury.
  • With UDFA Phillip Lindsay almost certainly having earned his way onto the team as Denver’s No. 3 running back, De’Angelo Henderson has drawn trade interest. Former Broncos tackle Tyler Polumbus, writing for The Athletic (subscription required) believes that would be the best scenario for the second-year player, noting that Denver will likely keep four backs — Devontae Booker, Royce Freeman, Lindsay and fullback Andy Janovich — on its 53-man roster. This would leave both Henderson, who likely wouldn’t pass through waivers, and seventh-round rookie David Williams, who might, off the team.
  • Although he returned a punt for a touchdown in the preseason, Isaiah McKenzie probably won’t make the Broncos, per Polumbus. The diminutive return man has fumbled several kicks in his short Broncos stay, losing another one during preseason play. Lindsay and the recent addition of Adam Jones look to have forced the second-year player off the roster.
  • The Raiders will likely waive DeAndre Washington and allow recent camp pickup Chris Warren to take his place, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes. Washington recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is an IR candidate, per Gutierrez, who has the Raiders keeping four running backs — Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and Warren. Washington and Richard served as backups for Lynch and Latavius Murray the past two years. Washington averaged 5.4 yards per carry as a rookie but struggled last season (2.7 YPC).

Release Candidate: Mike Gillislee

When the Patriots signed running back Mike Gillislee last year, it was a case of the rich getting richer. Gillislee, a restricted free agent, averaged 5.7 yards per carry for the Bills in 2016 and his future seemed extremely bright in the Patriots’ backfield. One year later, the Patriots find themselves with an embarrassment of riches in the backfield, and that could leave Gillislee without a spot on the roster. 

[RELATED: Patriots’ Julian Edelman Won’t Sue NFL]

Despite rushing for three touchdowns in the Pats’ season opener against the Chiefs, Gillislee was left off of the active roster for much of the season. Although he had some decent performances in a limited role and averaged a respectable 4.2 yards per carry in October, Gillislee was way behind Dion Lewis in the pecking order and also snaps to Rex Burkhead and James White. When it came time for the playoffs, the Patriots did not ask Gillislee to suit up.

Lewis is out of the picture after signing a lucrative free agent deal with the Titans, but the competition is still fierce in New England. The Patriots used a first-round pick to select Sony Michel, who projects to be the team’s leading rusher. White, Burkhead, and Branden Bolden are still in the fold, and the latest word is that former Bengal Jeremy Hill may have a better chance of making the final cut than Gillislee.

Patriots fans were rightfully ecstatic about plucking Gillislee from the rival Bills last year, but he’s no longer a focal point of the team’s plans. Gillislee’s two-year, $6.4MM deal has no guaranteed money remaining, so the team can save $2.18MM by cutting the Florida product with no dead money left on the cap. If Gillislee can’t step it up in camp, that’ll be the likely outcome for the 27-year-old.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Bridgewater, Gillislee, Bills

When Teddy Bridgewater went down with a devastating knee injury during Vikings training camp in 2016, many doubted he would ever play again. Bridgewater’s journey has been a rollercoaster since then, from being the Vikings franchise quarterback to their third stringer by the time he returned, but he’s back on the field now and has already proved many doubters wrong.

After reportedly coming close to losing his leg entirely, Bridgewater is now a member of the Jets, signed to a one-year deal in March. Although the Jets used the third overall pick on Sam Darnold and still have Josh McCown ahead of Bridgewater for now, Bridgewater apparently has a “legitimate” shot at being the Jets’ 2018 starting quarterback, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN (Twitter link).

Although very little of Bridgewater’s 2018 salary is guaranteed, he’s apparently showed well in OTAs thus far, making it more unlikely the Jets cut him. The key for Bridgewater will be his healthy and “showing his knee is sound” according to Cimini, who adds that nobody will “know that until he gets hit in a preseason game.” If Bridgewater does manage to win the Jets’ starting job this summer, it would be one of the most incredible comeback stories in recent memory.

Here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • The Patriots’ running back room is currently a bit crowded, and at least one notable name will need to be cut before the regular season begins. That’s most likely to be Mike Gillislee according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com, who says he likes Jeremy Hill‘s chances of making the team better than Gillislee’s, and adds that he has “some questions about Gillislee’s effort after some drill work in OTAs.” A much-hyped free agent acquisition last offseason, Gillislee now appears to be on the outside looking in for a roster spot as he’s buried behind Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden, and possibly Hill.
  • Bills rookie first-rounder Tremaine Edmunds “seems destined to start from Day 1” according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Despite being just 19 when he was drafted, Edmunds is expected to be an every down player at middle linebacker for the Bills. La Canfora adds that rookie quarterback Josh Allen was “hardly perfect” in Thursday’s OTA session, and that he’s likely to begin the season on the bench behind A.J. McCarron. While Edmunds could make some of the Bills’ veteran linebackers expendable, the Bills will likely keep McCarron around since he’s due a relatively cheap $5MM salary, unless Allen is lights out during the preseason.
  • The Jets may target a veteran tight end towards the end of training camp, according to Daryll Slater of NJ.com. Slater points out that the Jets have a group of inexperienced young players at tight end, and the team will want to see how they perform this summer. If they don’t show well, the team will likely seek to bring in a veteran to help guide the young unit, writes Slater. The Jets let Austin Seferian-Jenkins walk to the Jaguars in free agency, and now have only a slew of unproven players at tight end.

Patriots Notes: Mayfield, Gillislee, Brady

We recently heard that the Patriots were just one of two teams to rate Baker Mayfield as the best quarterback in this year’s draft, and Mayfield’s agent, Jack Mills, indicated that New England may have been willing to move up to the No. 2 overall pick to land his client. However, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com is not so sure. He thinks the Patriots wanted to meet with Mayfield as part of their thorough scouting process, but if they did not sell Mills on the potential that they could make a big move up, Mills would not have wasted Mayfield’s time with a New England visit. Reiss does not believe the Pats would have jumped from No. 23 to No. 2 even if Mayfield was still on the board.

Now for more notes out of Foxborough:

  • The Patriots have not officially announced their 2018 crop of UDFAs, but as Reiss observes, they have signed Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb and gave him a $70K guarantee, which clearly makes him a priority signing with a decent chance of making the final roster. In a separate piece, Reiss says that Mike Gillislee, who opened the 2017 campaign as New England’s No. 1 back, is now fighting for a roster spot. With new first-round pick Sony Michel and veterans Rex Burkhead and James White considered locks, Gillislee will battle Webb, Jeremy Hill, and Brandon Bolden for one or two spots. The former Bill could be cut with no dead money ramifications.
  • When he was recently asked if he felt appreciated by Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, Tom Brady replied with a joke/non-answer. It is unclear whether Brady actually feels underappreciated by the other two most important figures within the organization, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes the club should ante up and pay Brady a salary more in line with the top of the market. Brady’s $20.5MM AAV is now 16th among all quarterbacks, and Florio believes the Pats should rectify that to some degree.
  • The news continues to be good for 2017 third-rounder Derek Rivers. Reiss says Rivers, who tore his ACL last August and missed his entire rookie campaign, is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
  • Earlier this week, ESPN’s Mel Kiper named Patriots’ sixth-round WR Braxton Berrios as one of the 2018 late-round selections most likely to make an immediate impact.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Raiders, Lynch, Patriots

The Bengals selected Washington wide receiver John Ross with the ninth overall pick last Thursday, but some clubs didn’t view Ross as a worthwhile long-term investment, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. “We looked at him as a one-contract player,” one front office told La Canfora. “Our doctors had serious reservations about his longevity at this level.” Ross tore his ACL and missed the 2015 collegiate campaign, and also underwent labrum surgery after the combine. If healthy, Ross and his 4.22-second speed should add a new dynamic to Cincinnati’s offense.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The Raiders‘ deal with running back Marshawn Lynch is worth $9MM over two years, reports Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). In 2017, Lynch will earn a fully guaranteed base salary of $1.35MM plus a $1MM roster bonus due May 3 (which makes it effectively guaranteed). Lynch can also bring in $500K in per-game roster bonuses and $150K via a workout bonus. In 2018, Lynch’s cap number will be $6MM — including a $4MM base salary — but because none of that money is guaranteed (and because Oakland didn’t use a signing bonus), the Raiders can cut Lynch after 2017 with no dead money accelerating onto their cap.
  • Even if new Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley is handed felony charges after an alleged sexual assault, he can’t be suspended by the NFL, league spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Because the incident and accusations occurred prior to Conley entering the league, the NFL cannot discipline him, although the episode come into play down the line. If Conley were to violate the NFL’s conduct policy going forward, he could be treated as a “repeat offender,” according to Florio.
  • Mike Gillislee‘s two-year pact with the Patriots was front-loaded in order to convince the Bills not to match, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets. Gillislee will earn a fully guaranteed base salary of $1.5MM in 2017, and will also rake $2MM via a roster bonus and $500K in per-game roster bonuses. In 2018, he’ll see a non-guaranteed base salary of $1.9MM with another $500K available in per-gamers. No signing bonus was used in the deal.

Former Bills RB Mike Gillislee Joins Patriots

The Bills have declined to match Mike Gillislee‘s offer sheet, per a club announcement. He will now join the Patriots. Per the terms of his offer sheet, he’ll play for New England on a two-year, $6.4MM deal. The Bills will get the 163rd overall pick (fifth round) from the Patriots by letting him go. That was the better of the Patriots’ two fifth-round choices."<strong

The Bills’ decision to place the original round tender on Gillislee was a surprise in the football world and they might be regretting that decision today. For another $1MM or so, the Bills could have placed the second-round tender on him and – in all likelihood – kept the Patriots and other teams far away. Gillislee averaged 5.7 yards per carry last season and made it clear that he can handle a larger role if given the opportunity. The Bills, for some reason, apparently did not see what the rest of the league saw in the 26-year-old. Now, they’re losing their top understudy and potential heir apparent for starting running back LeSean McCoy.

The Patriots now have a loaded depth chart at running back headlined by Gillislee and free agent pickup Rex Burkhead. Dion LewisJames White, Brandon Bolden, and D.J. Foster are also under contract for the coming season. Today’s news likely spells the end of LeGarrette Blount‘s time in New England. Lewis and/or Bolden may also be on the chopping block. If the Patriots cut Lewis, they’ll only be on the hook for $200K in dead money.

In Buffalo, five running backs remain on the roster: McCoy, Jonathan WilliamsJoe Banyard, Cedric O’Neal, and Mike Tolbert.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.