A double dose of RFA RB’s visited Gillette Stadium yesterday, as Dolphins RB Damien Williams (low tender) also was there, per league source. https://t.co/ysPP2hrVea
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 13, 2017
Yes, it’s always fun when the Pats get ready to raid their AFC East rivals, but you’d think at this point the Bills and Dolphins would do their best to match any offer the Patriots make, except that, oh yeah, the Patriots have more cap flexibility and can pretty much do what they want.
Of the two, Gillislee is the more appealing to me and as someone who’s ready to move on from LeGarrette Blount, I’d welcome the addition. It was reported earlier this week that Blount has had a contract sitting on the table from the Patriots since the start of free agency and is still looking for more money. The fact that he hasn’t gotten a better offer elsewhere, coming off a record-setting campaign for the Pats, says volumes.
Blount certainly has his moments, but his inconsistency in big games leaves me wondering if it’s more the overall Patriots scheme that is most responsible for his best successes, which often seemed to come against the weakest teams. Look at his playoff numbers below and the trend is pretty clear.
Williams seems more or less just a guy. He’s never topped 36 carries in a season but has had over 20 catches in each of his first three years and can return kicks. Would he suddenly take off with New England? I’m more interested in Rex Burkhead at this point.
But Gillislee is more intriguing. Belichick had this to say about him last season:
“Some of his time has been limited because of McCoy, who has had such an explosive season, but when he’s had a chance to play he’s done a good job,” said Belichick. “He had a big run against San Francisco, like a 44-yard touchdown. A strong, downhill runner, one cut guy, that’s hard to tackle. Good complementary player to McCoy. McCoy is exceptional, but Gillislee is a good back too.”
Gillislee averaged 5.7 yards-per-attempt in each of the last two seasons. He’s just the kind of under-the-radar player that the Patriots are famous for plucking and turning into a key contributor. Not that that is what they need from him. He’d join three backs who are already pretty balanced overall. It seems clear the Patriots want a deep backfield that can do just about anything. Burkhead has some power, but Gillislee would bring even more explosiveness.