The New England Patriots have made some big personnel splashes during the offseason: Signing high-priced free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore and trading a first round draft pick to the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks were two of the biggest transactions the franchise has ever made. Another one has flown under the radar a bit but was equally important: signing Mike Gillislee.
Prior to the start of free agency, the Buffalo Bills placed the original round tender on the restricted free agent running back. The Patriots did not care and still signed him to a two-year, $6.4 million offer sheet – one the Bills declined to match and in turn received a fifth round selection. In New England, Gillislee is expected to take over LeGarrette Blount’s spot as the bell-cow running back.
However, the 26-year old has not yet been able to display his potential and has been slowed down by injury. According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, we now know what the injury is:
Mike Gillislee's hamstring is the reason why he's been locked onto the conditioning field for the past few days. Also an issue from OTAs.
Of course, hamstring injuries can be a lingering affair so it would not be a surprise to see the Patriots continue to play it as safe as possible with their offseason signing. This means that Gillislee will likely sit out tomorrow's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars and might also see only limited reps during the upcoming joint practices with the Houston Texans.
After all, the goal is to get him ready for the regular season and if it takes additional rehabilitation work, so be it. In the meantime, fellow offseason acquisition Rex Burkhead as well as Dion Lewis and Brandon Bolden will continue to see increased opportunities.