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Bills don't match offer sheet, lose Gillislee to Patriots

Another offseason, another restricted free agent leaves the Buffalo Bills for the New England Patriots.

A year ago it was wide receiver Chris Hogan, who went on to help the Patriots win Super Bowl LI.

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.

The deal was structured so that Gillislee is due to receive $4 million this year.

As compensation, the Bills received the Patriots' fifth-round pick -- because Buffalo had given him an original-round tender -- in this week's NFL Draft. It is the 163rd overall choice.

The Bills now have a total of seven picks in the draft, including three in the fifth round. Besides the one they acquired from the Patriots in exchange for Gillislee, they also have their original fifth-round selection (139th overall) and one they picked up in a 2015 trade with the Dallas Cowboys for quarterback Matt Cassel (152nd).

Last season was Gillislee's best in the NFL since the Miami Dolphins made him a fifth-round choice from Florida in 2013. He rushed for 577 yards and eight touchdowns while backing up LeSean McCoy.

Gillislee's departure leaves the Bills with four running backs (McCoy, Jonathan Williams, Joe Banyard, and Cedric O'Neal) and two fullbacks (Patrick DiMarco and Mike Tolbert).

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