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Buffalo Bills decline to match New England Patriots’ offer sheet for RFA RB Mike Gillislee

The reserve running back becomes the second Bills’ RFA in two years to join the Patriots.

As first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Buffalo Bills will not match the two-year, $6.4 million offer sheet the New England Patriots extended to restricted free agent running back Mike Gillisee.

As a result, the Bills will receive New England’s highest pick in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, which is 163rd overall (which they acquired from the Denver Broncos).

Gillislee, 26, has run for 844 yards and 11 touchdowns in 20 games since the Bills plucked him off the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad in the latter part of the 2015 season. Last year, he led the NFL with 5.7 yards per carry on 101 attempts.

Gillislee becomes the second restricted free agent in as many seasons to join the team’s division rivals, after Chris Hogan signed a three-year offer sheet last offseason. Unlike that situation, however, the Bills decided to take the full allotted time frame to make this decision. Also unlike last year, while the contract is financially restrictive (Gillislee will make $4 million this season), the team would have been able to match if they so desired.

The Bills had until 4:00 this afternoon to make their decision, so one would hope that they spent the week giving some serious evaluation to Gillislee’s play and the role he’d fill in Rick Dennison’s offense. By declining the offer sheet, it would indicate that the team thinks they can find a better fit behind incumbent starter LeSean McCoy on the depth chart, whether it be second-year man Jonathan Williams or a prospect in the NFL Draft.

Either way, they should be adding at least one body to the mix going forward. That means we can take another position on to the seemingly endless list of needs this team has going into next season.