Bills opt not to match offer sheet for free agent Gillislee

This is the second consecutive offseason New England has attempted to sign one of the Bills' restricted free agents.

On Monday, shortly before an NFL-imposed deadline, the Bills announced they would not match the Patriots' offer sheet of a two-year, $6.4-million contract for Mike Gillislee, allowing the running back to join their AFC East rival.

Because the Bills had tendered Gillislee at an original-round level, they will receive a fifth-round pick (163rd overall) from the Patriots as compensation.

New England Patriots running back Mike Gillislee will "essentially fill LeGarrette Blount's role" in the offense, says Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.

Gillislee had career highs last season with 101 carries for 577 yards and eight touchdowns.

In two games against the Patriots in 2016, Gillislee gashed the Patriots for 18 carries, 115 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

Blount, 30, scored 34 TDs in 49 games in two stints with the Patriots. Last year, New England signed the Bills wide receiver to an offer sheet.

The Patriots surrender a fifth-round draft choice in exchange for Gillislee, which leaves them with six total picks entering this week's draft.

The team signed former Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead in March and also returns Dion Lewis and James White at the position.

A native of Deland, Florida, Gillislee was taken in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Florida by the Miami Dolphins.

For the Bills, this means that they will likely have to find a backup running back somewhere in free agency or the draft.