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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Mike Gillislee reportedly in danger of losing roster spot with Patriots

The New England Patriots invested quite a bit in Mike Gillislee when they signed him as a restricted free agent last offseason, but the running back clearly has not lived up to expectations.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports that Gillislee is in danger of losing his roster spot in New England’s suddenly crowded backfield. After they signed free agent Jeremy Hill and used a first-round pick on former Georgia star Sony Michel, the Patriots are sure to release at least one veteran back this summer. Reiss is anticipating Gillislee will be the odd man out.

First-round draft pick Sony Michel, six-year veteran Rex Burkhead and “passing back” James White are locks, which leaves Gillislee, Jeremy Hill, Brandon Bolden and undrafted free agent Ralph Webb as the next layer on the depth chart vying for one or two spots. That’s an unexpected turn for Gillislee, who signed a two-year, $6.4 million contract as a restricted free agent last offseason, costing the Patriots a fifth-round draft choice when Buffalo didn’t match the offer (the Bills selected linebacker Matt Milano with the pick).

Part of the reason Gillislee’s spot on the roster isn’t a guarantee is that the Patriots could cut him with no dead money on the salary cap, which is another important layer to consider. So Gillislee, who totaled 383 yards and five touchdowns on 104 carries last season and lost the top spot on the depth chart to Dion Lewis in Week 6, is one of the fascinating personnel storylines heading into 2018.

As Reiss mentioned, Gillislee tumbled down the depth chart last season and was even a healthy scratch some weeks. If the way Hill said he is feeling is any indication, he should be able to beat out Gillislee as the Patriots’ top power back. The fact that he is also cheaper in 2018 doesn’t bode well for Gillislee’s chances.

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