It took just one day for former New England Patriots running back Mike Gillislee to find a new team. According to a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Gillislee will sign a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. Gillislee was cut by the Pats on Saturday. The 27-year-old appeared in nine games in two seasons with New England.
The Saints need some help at running back early in the season, as Mark Ingram will be suspended for the first four games of the year. Alvin Kamara is the team's primary pass-catcher out of the backfield and had a monster rookie season, but his size (5'10", 215 lbs) makes it a little questionable whether he can withstand a full workload. Rookie sixth-round pick Boston Scott could also play a pivotal role in the backfield.
Gillislee would be a good complement to Kamara as a power runner and goal line guy while Ingram is unavailable.But should Kamara’s owners be on vulture alert?
Kamara had 25 red zone carries last year, which was good for a 35 percent share of the Saints; red zone carries. Ingram had 33 red zone carries, which accounted for a 46 percent share (h/t to Football Diehards). While Kamarashould take on some more red zone work, the rest of Ingram’s share is available over the first month of the season.
Of Gillislee’s 13 rushing touchdowns over the last two seasons, 12 have come from inside the five-yard line on a combined total of 18 carries from that range. That creates the potential for a significant touchdown vulture, no matter what team he signs with.
Kamara is a top 5-to-10 pick in fantasy drafts, and he’s even considered a candidate to go No. 1 overall by high-end optimists. A repeat of last year’s efficiency and big plays is unlikely, but that regression is being offset by the likelihood of a bigger workload.
Gillislee signs with the Saints it’s most likely short-term proposition, and he may be seeking (and be able to find) an opportunity to contribute to a team beyond Week 4. While he wouldn’t torpedo Kamara’s fantasy prospects upon landing with New Orleans, Gillislee could siphon a fair amount of value from one of last year’s breakout fantasy stars.