The New England Patriots have recently put the Buffalo Bills in a tough place after offering a contract to running back Mike Gillislee.
Last offseason, the New England Patriots were able to finagle Chris Hogan away from the Buffalo Bills. Hogan went on to produce well in New England with a career high 680 yards. Now, the Patriots are attempting to pick on Buffalo once more.
Running back has been thought to be a position of need, with the team having not yet signed LeGarrette Blount. Dion Lewis, James White, and Rex Burkhead are already signed on, but that group left something to be desired in terms of size. At 5’11” and 219 pounds, Gillislee would be the biggest back on the roster.
Entering his fourth season, Gillislee is coming off of a breakout year. In 2016. he played in 15 games for Buffalo, carrying the ball 101 times for 577 yards (5.7 avg) and eight touchdowns. He also hauled in nine balls for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Although it was his third NFL season, Gillislee had extremely limited exposure in his freshman and sophomore seasons. In 2013 for Miami he carried the ball just six times for 21 yards. For Buffalo in 2015 he played just five games. He rushed 47 times for 267 yards (5.7 avg) and three scores. It was a nice step forward and his 2016 campaign was another massive jump in the right direction.
So, why would Buffalo even consider letting a possible budding star leave? The answer is that New England knew exactly what they were doing.
Gillislee was the backup to the often-injured LeSean McCoy last season. 2016 was McCoy’s second year in Buffalo and he has yet to play a full season. In fact, McCoy has already played eight NFL seasons and has only played 16 games three times. McCoy is set to turn 29 this July.
Unfortunately for the Bills, McCoy is under contract through 2019. Not only that, but McCoy has the second highest cap hit and guaranteed money amount at his position in the league, according to spotrac.com.
The high offer sheet from New England would force Buffalo to commit an immense amount of money to the running back position in order to match. When considering this, it is difficult to imagine that the Bills would do so.
In essence, the Patriots have stuck their divisional rival in a lose-lose situation. If they match, they are stuck with a flawed design in building their team. If they choose not to match, they may be letting a stud out of their grasp.
While the Bills have not yet made a decision, they are sure to be fuming with what Belichick has done to them these past two offseasons.