The Patriots have bolstered their running back depth.
The Patriots will officially sign running back Mike Gillislee.
According to Buffalo Bills PR, Monday’s 4:00 deadline came and went, and the Buffalo Bills declined to match the Patriots’ 2-year $6 million offer sheet signed last week to the 2016 NFL leader in yards per carry.
Gillislee, along with former Bengal Rex Burkhead, will join the recently extended James White and veterans Dion Lewis and Brandon Bolden at the core of New England’s backfield in 2017. The signing also could be the end of LeGarrette Blount’s time in Foxborough, as the two sides have yet to work out a deal.
Gillislee averaged 5.7 yards per carry in 2016, and was Buffalo’s primary goal line back, accumulating 8 touchdowns. Gillislee also had zero plays for negative yardage last season, and failed to lose a fumble.
The signing should remind most Patriots fans of the Chris Hogan signing a year ago, as Belichick put pressure on the cap-space deprived Bills by extending Hogan an offer sheet. While no draft pick compensation was given due to Hogan being an undrafted free agent, the Bills were unable to match the offer, and had to watch as Hogan helped the Patriots win another Super Bowl.
With the signing of Gillislee, the Patriots will send Buffalo the 163rd pick, the higher of their two 5th-round picks. Pick number 163 was acquired in a trade from the Denver Broncos for tight end AJ Derby before the trade deadline last season.
Gillislee’s cap hit for 2017 will be $3,968,750. More details to come regarding his 2018 contract numbers.
Follow Brian Phillips on Twitter - @b7phillips
2017-04-24T14:00:02-04:00The 2017 NFL Draft was supposed to be incredibly deep. The Patriots might not view it that way. Former Patriots exec and Bill Belichick’s right-hand Michael Lombardi posted his top 14 prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft over at The Ringer and I think it’s important to read between the lines to fully understand what he’s saying. Lombardi relays how he and Belichick worked at the Cleveland Browns to remodel their scouting grading system, and how it relates to this year’s draft. “When Bill joined the Browns in 1991, the two of us spent the better part of his first season designing our grading system,” Lombardi writes. “We wanted to define the prospect’s role on our team, and we wanted to predict how long it would take for him to achieve that role. That’s it. “Instead of predicting rounds, our system forced our scouts to grade every player as (1) a starter, (2) a potential starter, (3) a developmental player, (4) a backup, or (5) someone who couldn’t make any NFL team. In Belichick’s room, no one was permitted to mention rounds — that job was for useless coffee-guzzling scouts and cliché-spouting TV commentators.” Lombardi notes that every Patriots “draft board features maybe 14 or 15 potential day-one starters ,” and Lombardi’s list of 14 players for the 2017 Draft is important. I don’t take what Lombardi says about the Patriots as gospel, but I do think it holds value. The Patriots just didn’t think any day-one starter would be available in this draft, so they sent their first round pick to the New Orleans Saints for WR Brandin Cooks, who will be a day one starter. Looking at Lombardi’s prospects, it’s easy to see why. He has just five offensive players on his list (TE O.J. Howard, RB Leonard Fournette, RB Christian McCaffrey, QB Deshaun Watson, and OT Cam Robinson); Robinson is the only player of the five that might be available at #32 overall and his draft grade is all over the place. Lombardi lists nine defenders and eight of them (EDGE Myles Garrett, DT Jonathan Allen, S Malik Hooker, LB Haason Reddick, DL Solomon Thomas, S Jamal Adams, CB Marshon Lattimore, and EDGE Derek Barnett) are considered possible top 10 selections. The ninth is CB Adoree Jackson, whom Lombardi compares to “a waaaaay better Asante Samuel.” So of the 14 prospects that Lombardi considers a day-one starter, only two- Robinson and Jackson- are expected to be available at the end of the first round. The Patriots decision to add a surefire starter in Cooks over makes a lot of sense when viewed through this lens. And one last thing: if the Patriots do acquire the 12th overall pick from the Browns, look for Tennessee EDGE Derek Barnett. Lombardi compares him to a mix of Terrell Suggs and Trey Flowers, and Barnett would be a perfect complement to Flowers in the Patriots defensive front. Follow @PP_Rich_Hill Follow @PatsPulpit src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpatspulpit%2F&width=450&layout=standard&action=like&show_faces=true&share=false&height=80&appId" width="450" height="80" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"> [...]
2017-04-24T13:00:01-04:00Our offseason countdown continues with the Number 14 Most Memorable Moment of the 2016 season. The schedule is out! The draft is here! It's almost time for mini-camp! It will be Fall before you know it! Which means I'd better get a move on with this countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Moments of 2016. We're only five in, so there's a long way to go. The list so far: 20. The New England Patriots trade Jamie Collins to Cleveland for a bag of peanuts.19. LeGarrette Blount runs through the entire Seahawks line on his way to the end zone.18. A Chris Long strip sack helps to ice the game against the New York Jets.17. The Patriots defense shuts down Trevor Siemian and the Denver Broncos on the road.16. LeGarrette Blout owns Byron Maxwell with an epic hurdle.15. A different kind of Malcolm Go highlights a convincing road win against the San Francisco 49ers. I absolutely love moments like Number 14, as it's yet another example of one team's castoff becoming New England's treasure. And when that player is able to stick it to the guys who decided to let him go, it's all that much sweeter. 14. Chris Hogan finds some nice redemption against his old team in the form of a beautiful 53 yard TD. The Buffalo Bills were one of only two teams to beat the Patriots in 2016, and the only one to shut them out completely. Granted, that win came inn Week 4 against a 3rd string rookie quarterback who had injured the thumb on his throwing arm to the point where he could barely even grip the ball, but a win is a win, and so when the Patriots traveled to Buffalo for the rematch in Week 8, redemption was the name of the game. They had just beaten the Steelers on the road to improve to 6-1, while the Bills were coming off a 28-25 heartbreaker against the Dolphins. The Patriots would go on to absolutely throttle the Bills in this one, 41-25, in a game that wasn't even that close. The Patriots pulled ahead 14-3 in the first quarter and never looked back. Tommy B finished the game slightly better than Jacoby Brissett did against Buffalo, going 22 of 33 for 315 yards, no picks, and four touchdowns. The Bills were simply outclassed, outgunned, and outmatched from the start as the Patriots coasted to victory. The Bills did lead 3-0 at one point, though, so there's that. The play that was basically the early dagger in this game came courtesy of a man the Patriots saw enough value in to sign to an offer sheet this past offseason. Chris Hogan was known as a flashy, yet inconsistent, receiver in Buffalo. New England thought he'd make a good fit for their offense, so they made sure that the offer was one that the Bills wouldn't match. Hogan was tall, he was fast, and he represented that outside threat that the team has been missing since Randy Moss. However, up until this point, Hogan and Brady hadn't connected for anything major. All that changed, however, in the middle of the first quarter with the Patriots holding a 7-3 lead. New England had just had a huge gain on 3rd and 8 called back due to an illegal receiver downfield penalty on Marcus Canon, and thus faced a 3rd and 13 from their own 47. Working out of the gun with James White in the backfield, Brady had three receivers stacked right with Hogan in isolation against his newest teammate, Stephon Gilmore.Hogan ran a simple Go Route at the snap as the Bills overloaded the left side of the line with a cornerback blitz. White picked up the rusher, giving Brady, who froze the safety over the middle just long enough, the time he needed to launch it deep in Hogan's direction. Hogan got a great release at the line, and one he had separation, just left Gilmore in the dust. It looks like Gilmore was expecting safety help over the top, but he most certainly didn't get it. Brady hit Hogan in stride - he actually had to slow down just a bit to wait for the pass to catch up - and he waltzed into the end zone for a 53 yard score. Patriots 14, Bills 3. Buffalo made it 14-10 at one point, but that was the closest they would come all day. The loss dropped [...]
New details have been released regarding just how much space the team has created with the new deal.
Further details regarding the restructuring of Danny Amendola’s contract were provided by ESPN’s Field Yates on Monday morning.
Danny Amendola's new deal with the Patriots created $4.75M in cap space. Team gets flexibility, player gets guaranteed money ($1.35M).— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 24, 2017
The expected NFL value of a drafted player does not follow the draft value chart, opening up an arbitrage opportunity. The Patriots own the 131st pick in the NFL Draft, but a player selected 131st has a similar success rate as one selected 115th and one selected 170th- and the Patriots would absolutely be able to pick up an extra fifth or sixth round lottery ticket to trade down from 131st to 170th.
The Patriots could consider trading down from the 183rd overall pick to acquire more sixth and seventh round picks.
New England treats the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds as an opportunity to get “dibs” on preferred free agents and there will be plenty of preferred free agents signing with the Patriots based purely on the open roster spots.
Of course it might make more financial sense for the Patriots just to sign as many undrafted free agents as possible because they’re cheaper upfront than rookie draft picks. Patriots WR Devin Lucien received $85,412 guaranteed as the 225th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, while undrafted free agent CB Jonathan Jones was one of the highest-paid undrafted prospects and received just $35,000 guaranteed.
2017-04-24T07:00:02-04:00In a three part series, Know your Enemy will take a look at the possible draft strategy of some rivals/contenders that the Patriots should be on the lookout for this coming year. In part 2, we take a look at the AFC contenders looking to dethrone the Patriots. The 2017 NFL Draft is 4 days away as of this writing, and at this point if you’ve been following along with the Pats Pulpit draft coverage, you should have a pretty good idea of what positions the Patriots are looking at, and some particular prospects they could be interested in. Although it is easy to forget sometimes, the Patriots actually do have competition in the NFL. Somehow the NFL hasn’t decided to just give them an auto-bye to the Super Bowl, so they have to play 13 other teams in the regular season, plus at least 2 playoff match-ups before getting there. It’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of some of these other key teams that could impact the Patriots attempt to be the first repeat champions since—well—the Patriots. With a good draft that adds some key contributors, these teams could contribute to the Patriots downfall. In the second installment of a three part series, the AFC contenders looking to keep the Patriots from grabbing their third Lamar Hunt trophy in four years will be broken down. Denver Broncos Picks (Round.Overall selection): 1.20/2.51/3.82/3.101/4.127/5.177/6.203/7.238/7.252/7.253 Needs: OT, TE, QB, IDL Overview: The Broncos are in an interesting spot. Just one year removed from being Super Bowl Champions, they simultaneously have a lot of spots to improve on, but little true needs. They definitely need at least one—and probably two—tackles. After that, it’s a bit cloudy. They could definitely stand to upgrade their QB situation for the immediate year, but after spending a first round pick on Paxton Lynch last year, that’s not going to happen in the draft. They could use a better tight end, or another EDGE guy, or a better nose tackle, but they could also get by with what they have. Ultimately, the Broncos need to attack the offensive line early and often in the draft, and history says they will. Michael Kist of breakingfootball.com created the BANE (Best Available Need Evaluation), which takes the consensus needs for every team in a given draft, and tracks how often each team took a player at a position of consensus need that year. Per Michael’s evaluation, which you can read here, the Broncos have the highest percentage of need picks over the past three drafts, including 3/3 in the first round. You can almost lock them into an offensive tackle with their first pick, the trick is figuring out who will be there. Offensive tackles have a tendency to rise up boards, so even in a year where the consensus is the OL class is bad, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Cam Robinson and Garett Bolles both gone by the time the Broncos pick at 20th overall. Trading up is something John Elway has proven very willing to do, and in such a deep class with similar value all around—and given the abundance of Broncos picks—if his guy is there between 10-15, it wouldn’t shock me to see him trade up with a team like Indianapolis. First Three Picks Prediction: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah/JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC/Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA Oakland Raiders Picks: 1.24/2.56/3.88/4.129/5.168/6.208/7.242/7.244 Needs: CB, Off-ball LB, IDL, RB Overview: The Raiders are going to be very interesting to watch this year. On the one hand, they were 8-1 in one score games last year. That type of success in close games almost always regresses back to the mean in future seasons, indicating the Raiders should be primed for a regression. On the other hand, they have a young, ascending QB and a defense that’s starting to bud with young talent. Any outcome from 7-13 wins shouldn’t be shocking for the Raiders, but I lean towards the 11-13 range if I had to place bets. The offense should be in a similar—if no[...]