If the Bills do not match the Patriots' offer sheet for the 26-year old, New England would have to send its fifth round pick in next week's draft (selection number 163) to Buffalo as compensation. According to NFLPA records, the Bills now have $10.8 million in salary-cap space, a figure which includes Gillislee's existing $1.797 million restricted free-agent tender. New England purposefully front-loaded the contract - just like it did with Hogan's a year ago - to make it hard for Buffalo to match. His 5.7 yards per rush average led the NFL.
Signing Gillislee to an offer sheet likely indicates the Patriots are not looking to bring back LaGarrette Blount, who is now a free agent.
The New England Patriots appear serious about yanking a second restricted free agent away from the Buffalo Bills in as many years.
NFL Network reported the deal is structured in such a way - two years, $6.4 million, with $4 million in Year 1 - that it would be tough for the Bills to match in the allotted five days, comparing it to when the Patriots poached playoff hero Chris Hogan from Buffalo.
All told, the Bills will either lose a rock-solid running back or be forced to pay him about $1.25 million extra next season due to the tender they placed on him.
The Patriots would have Gillislee and Rex Burkhead signed for over $3 million each and Dion Lewis and James White under contract for one more season apiece.
The New England Patriots don't only make life tough for the Buffalo Bills during the regular season, but also surely make it hard for their AFC East rival during the offseason. Gillislee may seem like a huge loss after he burst onto the scene with 577 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in 2016.
The Patriots wouldn't have a superstar in their running back stable, but they would have one of the NFL's best and deepest backfields. They're trying to do it again with Gillislee.
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