The New Orleans Saints have cut running back Mike Gillislee to make room for Mark Ingram on the roster.
Gillislee was cut by the New England Patriots before the season began and was signed by New Orleans shortly thereafter. He began playing in Week 1 but lost a fumble in a loss to Tampa Bay. He had just 43 yards on 16 carries in four games for the Saints.
Ingram is returning to the team following a four-game PED suspension. The 2011 first-round pick had over 1,500 total yards last season and 12 touchdowns. But with Alvin Kamara playing as well as he has, it’s unlikely for Ingram to steal a ton of work from the second-year sensation.
The New Orleans Saints have added even more depth to their backfield.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Saints have agreed to a one-year deal with running back Mike Gillislee, who was cut by the New England Patriots on Saturday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 2, 2018
The Saints had looked at a few veteran backs earlier in the summer, but their need grew when Mark Ingram was hit with a four-game suspension. Gillislee will likely serve as Alvin Kamara’s backup option and will have the opportunity to get some looks in the backfield on a limited basis, particularly before Ingram is eligible to return.
- Mike Gillislee
September 1st marks one of the roughest days of the year in the NFL. Teams have to cut down their rosters to 53 players, resulting in the dreams of hundreds of men being crushed. To get a sense of how hard it can be, take a look at this tweet from Donnel Pumphrey. Though these players are being cut, their careers aren’t necessarily over; they can still be picked up by other teams or join practice squads. Still, it’s a bad sign if you’re unable to crack a 53-man roster.
Here’s a look at 10 of the most notable players who were cut on Saturday.
Corey Coleman, WR, Bills
Coleman has been in headlines all offseason, but not for great reasons. The Cleveland Browns gave up on the 2016 first-round pick by trading him to Buffalo for a 7th-round pick. He got a late start with the Bills’ offense and only had one catch in the preseason while playing with some below-average quarterbacks. The former Baylor star’s NFL career is in no way over, but his chances of becoming an impact player do not seem to be too good. Coleman had just 23 catches for 305 yards and two touchdowns last season.
The September 1 roster deadline is looming, and we are a matter of hours from NFL teams having to set their 53-man squads for the season and make some tough roster cuts in the process. Some of the players that will lose their jobs by Saturday are fairly prominent names who could draw a lot of interest once their present employers officially decide to move on.
Here are ten fairly prominent names who could find themselves looking for a new team come 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Robert Griffin III, Ravens
This one is still very much up in the air, but the Ravens would be going against their usual precedent if they keep Griffin. Baltimore has virtually always carried two quarterbacks under John Harbaugh, and the first two spots are unquestionably filled by Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson. Will the Ravens break their rule and keep Griffin as an insurance policy in case Flacco fails and Jackson proves too raw? They might, but it would be out of character, which puts Griffin’s roster spot in real danger.
Training camps have officially opened across the NFL, and that means at least 90 players on every single team are vying for a spot on the regular season 53-man roster. Some spots may be more set in stone than others, but everyone has a real chance to make an impression.
For rookies and other young players, that breeds excitement. On the opposite end of that spectrum, it could also mean the end for several aging players and long-time veterans.
Here’s a look at 15 NFL veterans who are on the bubble as training camps get underway.
15. Michael Johnson, DE, Cincinnati Bengals
Michael Johnson has meant a lot to the Bengals during his two stints with the team and was even their Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in 2017. However, the NFL is a business, and at 31 years old with a diminishing snap count and a cap hit of over $6.1 million, his time in Cincinnati may be nearing an end. The Bengals have young players like Sam Hubbard, Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson who will push Johnson for playing time and likely render him expendable.
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.
The New England Patriots have successfully signed another key offensive player away from a division rival.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Buffalo Bills have informed running back Mike Gillislee that they will not be matching the two-year, $6.4 million offer sheet he signed with the Patriots.
Bills declined to match two-year, $6.4 million offer sheet that RB Mike Gillislee signed with Patriots, per source. Gillislee now a Pat.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 24, 2017
Gillislee rushed for 577 yards and scored eight touchdowns on just 101 carries in 2016. That’s an impressive 5.7 yards per carry, and the 26-year-old did it while playing a clear backup role behind LeSean McCoy. In New England, Gillislee will likely replace LeGarrette Blount as the early-down back.
The Patriots now have seemingly great depth at running back, as they also signed former Cincinnati Bengals back Rex Burkhead this offseason. Super Bowl hero James White and Dion Lewis will continue with their passing-down work, though it would not be a surprise if the latter ends up getting cut during training camp.