Patriots Talk: Team Holds Workouts for Damien Williams and Mike Gillislee
The Patriots are back to free agency once again as they held workouts yesterday. The Running Backs that were brought in were Buffalo Bills’ Mike Gillislee and Miami Dolphins’ Damien Williams. This came to light today through Ian Rapoport and Field Yates on Twitter.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 13, 2017
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
Now this is quite interesting as they had recently re-signed Brandon Bolden and acquired Rex Burkhead from the Cincinnati Bengals. So why are the Patriots still getting workouts with running backs from teams in their own division? I believe the answer comes back once again to free agent LeGarrette Blount. He has yet to respond back to the team and while his offer was given to him at the start of free agency, he hasn’t taken it. The mainly issue of course money, Blount wants more money but the Patriots are not going to overspend for a 30 year old running back even with the recent talks of players like Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch.
In addition, there is a very small chance the Patriots will go for either running back that were brought in yesterday because they are restricted free agents. What this means is they have a tender placed onto them. Gillislee was a fifth round pick in the 2013 draft, and he was signed to an original-round tender (meaning the round he was selected in). This means a fifth-round pick is needed to get any offer for him on the table. Williams, on the other hand, was an undrafted free agent and was offered a low-round tender. (meaning anywhere between the 6th and 7th rounds) Both tenders are worth about $1.797 million. Coincidentally, both Williams and Gillislee were teammates back in Miami before Gillislee ultimately added up on the Buffalo Bills in 2015.
The Patriots don’t hold workouts for restricted free agents unless they are: 1) in serious need of depth, 2) trying to convince certain players that the team can loo elsewhere. Burkhead being signed to a one year contract worth 3 million is the highest contract currently for all the Patriots running backs. That aren’t likely to give up much more money even with the amount of cap space they still have.
Damien Williams has run only 87 times for 296 yards and caught 65 passes for 578 yards over 47 games for the Dolphins in the last three seasons. Gillislee in 2016 had 101 carries for 577 yards and eight touchdowns and led all running backs in yards per carry (5.7 yards per carry). If either were signed it would have to be from now till April 21st.