By MyFM's Jake Archer - The New England Patriots spent yesterday doing a lot of housekeeping as they signed, re-signed and restructured deals with a few different players. In a flurry of interesting moves, we saw more and more of how the 2017 Patriots roster would take shape.
The most interesting move of the bunch came as they signed restricted free agent running back Mike Gillislee to an offer sheet. Gillislee plays in the division for the Buffalo Bills, who have 5 days to match the offer sheet or they will lose him to their rival. It’s being said though that the Patriots have made it difficult for the Bills to match with the offer they put out there, just as they did last year with wide receiver Chris Hogan. In all likelihood, Gillislee will join a Patriots backfield that features Dion Lewis, James White, Brandon Bolden and newly acquired Rex Burkehead.
Gillislee was a good between-the-tackles and goal line back for Buffalo this past season and he’s great at protecting the ball. His signing seems to shut the door on a move to bring in Adrian Peterson, and also probably signals the end of LeGarrette Blount as a Patriot. Blount seemed to want too much money from the Patriots, and the team decided that they would move on to the next option. Interestingly, Gillislee’s two-year $6.4 million offer would pay him significantly more than Blount made in his whole New England tenure.
I’m sad to see the end of the Blount era because he was such a likeable guy, but when Bill Belichick makes a move like this, you can’t really doubt him. Anyway, staying with the running back position, the Patriots extended Super Bowl LI hero James White yesterday to keep him in New England for four more years. White already had a year left, but the Pats decided to give him a three-year deal to keep him with the team through 2020.
I couldn’t be a bigger fan of the James White contract because I’ve been a supporter of his long before his Super Bowl heroics. I think he’s a great pass catching back and Tom Brady loves him. I don’t know the exact numbers on his extension, but I’m confident that the money is well spent on a player like him.
Another great move yesterday was made more by the player than by the team. Wide receiver Danny Amendola took a pay cut for the third straight year in order to stay here in New England and I couldn’t love it more. I’ve also been a big Amendola guy since he first signed here. He was always a bit of an injury risk, but he’s one of the toughest and most clutch players on the team. Just take a look at how selfless he is and how he steps up right when you need him most and you’ll realize he’s the perfect Patriots. I’m glad to have him staying with us.
The last high-profile move was the one that I am the most confused by. Cornerback Malcolm Butler signed his restricted free agent tender which ties him to the Patriots but also now enables him to be traded if the team decides to do so. I’m not confused as to why he signed the tender; I’m just wondering what is going to happen. I desperately want Butler to stay in New England this year unless they can get a really great deal, but I fear they might give him to New Orleans for the 32nd overall pick. In that case, Malcolm Butler and Brandin Cooks would essentially be a one-for-one swap and I don’t think I’d love it.
I’ll be interested to see what happens with Butler moving forward, and I think it should be resolved in the next week and half before the NFL Draft. Hopefully he’s staying in New England to form a ridiculous duo with newly acquired Stephon Gilmore at cornerback.
The Patriots made one other move during the day but it wasn’t exactly one that moves the needle that much. They released guard Tre’ Jackson who had missed all of last year to injury after playing in 13 games during his rookie season in 2015. It isn’t a sexy move, but I figured I’d include it nonetheless because it does matter.
Now the Patriots will look towards the NFL Draft and I’ll focus on writing a little bit about what they may be going after either later this week or next week. Stay tuned for that article and more!