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Report: Patriots Host Free-Agent Running Backs Mike Gillislee, Damien Williams

BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots appear interested in adding another running back, and they may want to snatch one away from a division rival.

The team recently hosted free-agent running back Mike Gillislee of the Buffalo Bills, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. ESPN’s Field Yates later reported that Damien Williams of the Miami Dolphins also visited the Patriots.

Both backs are restricted free agents, meaning that the Patriots would need to sign either to an offer sheet and send the Bills or Dolphins draft pick compensation if they declined to match. Gillislee, a fifth-round pick, was offered an original-round tender, while Williams, an undrafted free agent, was offered a low-round tender. Both tenders are worth about $1.797 million.

The Patriots reportedly have an “offer on the table” for free-agent running back LeGarrette Blount and have already signed former Bengals back Rex Burkhead to a one-year deal worth up to $3.15 million.

Elsewhere in running back news, Rapoport tweeted on Thursday that Marshawn Lynch could end up with the Oakland Raiders as part a trade between them and the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots were previously linked to Lynch, who privately expressed interest in joining the team, but CSNNE’s Mike Giardi tweeted on Thursday that the Pats have “no desire” in the formerly retired Lynch.

Gillislee rushed for 577 yards on just 101 carries in 2016 for the Bills. Williams, meanwhile, rushed just 35 times for 115 yards (a 3.3-yard average) for the Dolphins.

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