Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

4 landing spots for C.J. Anderson

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A new fish joined the pool of free-agent running backs Monday with the Broncos‘ reported impending release of C.J. Anderson.

Though Anderson never quite lived up to his potential in Denver, he’s now arguably the top available player at his position, ahead of the likes of DeMarco Murray and Adrian Peterson.

Teams that want to grab a potential starter instead of selecting one in the upcoming draft will likely pursue Anderson, but which four destinations are the best fits for the former undrafted free agent?

Indianapolis Colts

Current RB depth chart: Marlon Mack, Robert Turbin, Josh Ferguson, Matt Jones, Christine Michael

The Colts have yet to replace Frank Gore this offseason, and instead appear set to use one of their many draft picks on a young back to pair with Andrew Luck.

However, general manager Chris Ballard might be tempted by a solid proven NFL starter and the consequent freedom to use all three of his second-rounders to patch the many other holes in Indy’s roster.

The Colts also have money to burn – just over $60 million in cap space, according to Spotrac – so few teams should be able to entice Anderson with a more generous offer.

Anderson could form a strong thunder-and-lightning backfield with second-year man Mack, who teased game-breaking potential in 2017.

Miami Dolphins

Current RB depth chart: Frank Gore, Kenyan Drake, Senorise Perry, Brandon Radcliff

The Dolphins picked up Gore after his release from the Colts, but at 34 years old, they shouldn’t rely on him as a featured back. Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake excelled after the midseason trade of Jay Ajayi, averaging 4.8 yards per tote, but the Dolphins have little talent behind him and he was inconsistent at times.

It helps that Dolphins head coach Adam Gase was Anderson’s offensive coordinator from 2013-14. After Miami’s unsuccessful attempt to steal Anderson from Denver when he was a restricted free agent in 2017, the runner said he believes he’s a Pro Bowler in Gase’s system.

The Dolphins need a stronger group of running backs to support the returning Ryan Tannehill, who likely needs to be eased back after missing all of 2017 with a knee injury.

Miami should be the favorite for Anderson’s services.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Current RB depth chart: Jacquizz Rodgers, Peyton Barber, Dalton Crossan

The Buccaneers are looking for a true starting back after releasing Doug Martin, and Anderson could provide a short-term solution or be a solid stop-gap option while a young back develops.

Tampa Bay has bodies at running back, but little real quality. Rodgers and Barber have performed admirably when filling in for Martin and would be solid backups to Anderson, but neither should see the field too often if Tampa Bay wants to finally reach its potential on offense.

However, Anderson might not be the type of game-changer the Bucs want in the backfield to help reduce the pressure on Jameis Winston, so it’s possible they’ll target the second group of running backs in the draft instead of taking a shot on a player with a relatively low production ceiling.

Seattle Seahawks

Current RB depth chart: Mike Davis, Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise, J.D. McKissic

The Seahawks have been searching for their next lead guy ever since Marshawn Lynch walked off into the sunset (then got bored and returned).

As injuries forced the team to cycle through multiple starters, Seattle’s running game was so ineffective in 2017 that Russell Wilson actually led the team in rushing attempts (95) and yards (586). Unsurprisingly, the Seahawks ranked 21st in rushing yards per game – and if you subtract Wilson’s roughly 36 yards on the ground per game, only the Detroit Lions were worse.

It’s not like the Seahawks don’t have talent; Carson, Davis, Prosise, and McKissic have all flashed potential and could excel in backup or change-of-pace roles, especially Carson and Prosise. They still need a lead back, however. Anderson’s physical style would suit Seattle and provide Wilson with a reliable outlet after an offseason of major changes.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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