Last offseason, the New England Patriots signed restricted free agent Chris Hogan, an under-used receiver with the Buffalo Bills, to an offer sheet. The Bills let him go, and Hogan became a big part of a Super Bowl championship team in New England.
It worked out so well for New England, the Patriots are trying it again.
The Patriots signed Bills restricted free-agent running back Mike Gillislee to an offer sheet. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport the offer sheet is for $6.4 million over two seasons, with $4 million in the first year. That first-year number is important because it makes it tougher for the Bills to match the deal and keep Gillislee. The Bills have five days to match.
That the Patriots are trying to raid the Bills’ roster again is notable. There’s rarely any movement on the restricted free-agent market (which makes it appear like NFL teams have an unspoken gentlemen’s agreement, doesn’t it?). The Patriots have now signed two Bills restricted free agents in about 13 months. It’s a bad look for the Bills that their nemesis in the AFC East is grabbing players it wants off their roster. The Patriots also signed unrestricted free-agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore from the Bills this offseason.
Gillislee is a talented player who has done well with his few opportunities with the Bills but seemed to be unappreciated in Buffalo … kind of like Hogan. Gillislee has a 5.6-yard average despite just 154 career carries. Last season he had 577 yards and eight touchdowns on just 101 carries and one start, as he mostly watched LeSean McCoy take most of the playing time.
The Bills face a dilemma. Either they match a bloated contract for Gillislee, or they lose yet another piece to their division rival.
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