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Official: Patriots to sign Mike Gillislee after deadline for Bills to match offer passes

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