Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears indicates the big back situation is up for grabs.
According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, Fears is looking for someone to seize the role of a power back for the Pats. Fears said, “somebody has to play big for us. We have enough guys we know can play finesse football. Somebody has to play power football for us. We have to find out who is going to do that.” Fears said James White can also carry the ball, as can Dion Lewis, but it sounds like he’s looking for Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, or Brandon Bolden to step up as the power back. The RB coach notably said it’s a “very exciting moment for us” to see Mike Gillislee in pads to see what he can do. It’s no secret the best players play for New England, so this is very much up in the air. Gillislee, who averaged a league-best 5.7 yards per carry last season, is probably the favorite, but the others can’t be counted out.
Free agent receiver K.D. Cannon is signing with the Rams, according to Ian Rapoport.
Cannon was an undrafted free agent out of Baylor from this year’s draft, but he’s been cut by the 49ers and Jets so far. The two-time 1,000-yard receiver at Baylor could be running out of chances to make a 53-man roster in 2017.
Rob Gronkowski doesn’t have any limits heading into training camp.
Bill Belichick said Gronk was recovered from back surgery at the beginning of offseason training, which he participated in; he added, “no limits that I’m aware of.” After back surgery in December, the All-Pro tight end is ready to go for a stacked New England team. There are a lot of mouths to feed in the Patriots offense, but Gronkowski is still the number one fantasy tight end. He’s currently going at the end of round two in fantasy drafts.
Jets running back Matt Forte is day-to-day.
He has a tweaked hamstring, but it doesn’t sound too bad. It’d be a surprise to see the Jets play their veteran back in the team’s first preseason game next week. Bilal Powell will take almost all the first-team reps in Forte’s absence.
The Cowboys are signing running back Ronnie Hillman, according to Adam Schefter.
Dallas worked out both Hillman and Denard Robinson last week, and opted to sign Hillman. The 2012 third-round pick of the Broncos is a speedy back with ability as a receiver, but he hasn’t gotten much work over the last two seasons with San Diego and Minnesota, appearing in only eight games total after receiving 207 carries in 2015—his final season with Denver. Schefter notes that his “sense” is the Cowboys signed Hillman to brace for an Ezekiel Elliott suspension, which the league has not yet handed down but is expected to.
The Ravens waived/injured tight end Crockett Gilmore.
Gilmore is out for the season with a torn MCL. He’ll go through waivers and revert back to Ravens IR if no one claims him. It wouldn’t be surprising to see someone claim the 2014 third-round pick.
Broncos running back Devontae Booker has a wrist injury and could miss 6-8 weeks, according to PFT.
It’s tough luck for Booker, who said he was feeling a lot more comfortable this year after admitting his “head was spinning” as a rookie. Booker was getting some first-team reps at the first practice yesterday, but now it looks like he’ll miss the entire preseason. The second-year back should still make the team, but C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles will likely handle most of the work to open the season. Coastal Carolina rookie running back De’Angelo Henderson, who has reportedly impressed, now has an even better chance of making the roster with Booker unlikely to be ready for Week 1.