By Saturday afternoon, the New Orleans Saints had to trim their regular season roster down to 53 players just like every other team in the NFL. Most of the cuts were expected, but there were a few which left people scratching their heads. One of those cuts was that of running back Jonathan Williams who had appeared to win a spot, but he is out and former New England Patriots running back Mike Gillislee is in.
Gillislee was desperately fighting for a roster spot with the Patriots, but he ended up losing it to Jeremy Hill. By the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, it was Hill who had won the spot with running backs Rex Burkhead, James White, and rookie Sony Michel also making it, according to NFL.com.
That was on Saturday afternoon. By Sunday morning, Gillislee had already reserved a visit to New Orleans to meet with Sean Payton and the Saints.
New Orleans will be without starting running back Mark Ingram for the first four games of the season due to a suspension. Second-year back Alvin Kamara will take over the bulk of the duties, and there was a big fight for it during training camp and the preseason.
Now, Gillislee has only made the position even deeper.
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 … https://t.co/r0caQ2HUMG Headlines https://t.co/Eom6HJLVfJ #mlb #basketball #football pic.twitter.com/E8AUPSEVDA— GlobalSportsCentre (@GlobalSportsCtr) September 2, 2018
As reported by NOLA, the Saints now have more than two true running backs on their active roster for the start of the 2018 regular season. They already had Kamara and Scott, and on Sunday, they made it three with the signing of Gillislee to a one-year deal, but exact financial terms are not yet known.
Gillislee rushed for 960 yards and 13 touchdowns over the last two years with the Patriots, but New England simply had an abundance of running backs. It took less than 24 hours for him to find a new home and he did it after visiting with just one team.
Seeing as he was a vested veteran, Gillislee didn’t need to clear waivers and became an immediate free agent after being cut.
New Orleans did keep fullbacks Zach Line and Trey Edmunds on the roster, and Edmunds could very well play running back if needed. The cut of Williams was a surprising one, but as of late Sunday evening, he had joined the Saints’ practice squad.
Saints announce RBs Jonathan Williams and Dwayne Washington have agreed to join the practice squad.— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) September 2, 2018
The New Orleans Saints may have the deepest roster in the history of the franchise, and the addition of running back Mike Gillislee only makes it better. The offense already has a ton of firepower, and Gillislee not only brings in more, but he adds some veteran experience that Boston Scott doesn’t have. The New England Patriots had a stacked backfield as well, but their extra cuts may be the Saints’ gain.