During the process of trimming down their roster to 53, the New England Patriots let some important contributors from the 2017 season go. Among them were running back Mike Gillislee, defensive edge Eric Lee and linebacker Marquis Flowers. All three played more than 15% of the Patriots’ offensive and defensive snaps, respectively, last year – and all three did not spend much time on the open market.
According to multiple reports, all three have them have found new homes:
RB Mike Gillislee: New Orleans Saints
LB Marquis Flowers: Detroit Lions
DE Eric Lee: Detroit Lions (practice squad)
New England originally added Gillislee last offseason after signing the restricted free agent to a front-loaded two-year, $6.4 million offer sheet that the Buffalo Bills did not match during the five-day window. The Patriots sent a fifth-round draft pick to their AFC East rivals and received Gillislee in return. However, he was unable to establish himself as part of the rotation and became the odd man out this summer.
After a solid 2017 season that saw him see increased playing time as the number two linebacker alongside Kyle Van Noy, Flowers failed to create any momentum during this year’s training camp and the preseason. As a result, he saw Nicholas Grigsby overtake him on the defensive depth chart and was released.
The same goes for Eric Lee: last year’s in-season addition showed some flashes but was buried on the depth chart this year with Adrian Clayborn being signed as a free agent, and Derek Rivers and Keionta Davis returning from stints on injury-related reserve lists. There simply was not enough room on the roster for Lee to make it. Now he will join Flowers with the Detroit Lions, a team coached by former Patriots coordinator Matt Patricia.
The trio joins former second-round pick Cyrus Jones, who was added to the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad, as players that left New England after getting cut.