Broncos To Match Dolphins’ Offer Sheet For C.J. Anderson

With today’s deadline looming, the Broncos have decided to match the Dolphins’ offer sheet for running back C.J. Anderson, reports Adam Schefter of (via Twitter). By matching the offer, Denver will bring Anderson back on the terms of that deal, rather than letting him leave for Miami.C.J. Anderson (vertical)

Anderson confirmed the decision himself, announcing in a tweet: “I will be apart of the Broncos for 4 more years blessed to be apart of this wonderful Organization and super blessed for this opp.”

[RELATED: Details on C.J. Anderson’s offer sheet]

An undrafted free agent out of California in 2013, Anderson burst onto the scene during his sophomore season. He compiled 849 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns in 2014, and he added another 324 receiving yards and two touchdowns through the air. Anderson only started six games in 2015, finishing with 720 yards and five scores on 152 attempts. Despite the up-and-down season, Anderson played a major part in Denver’s Super Bowl win, rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown in the championship game.

Having been assigned a low-end RFA tender worth $1.671MM, Anderson was free to sign an offer sheet with another team, and got one he liked from the Dolphins, worth $18MM over four years. If the Broncos had elected not to match the offer, they wouldn’t have received any compensation for losing their running back.

It’s fair to criticize the Broncos for not using a second-round tender (worth $2.553MM) on Anderson, which likely would have discouraged rival offers. However, when Denver placed an RFA tender on Anderson, the team had not yet lost free agents like Brock Osweiler, Malik Jackson, and Danny Trevathan. Had GM John Elway known that all of those players would depart, he likely would’ve used a little extra cap room on Anderson by giving him a higher tender.

Additionally, if Anderson had received the second-round tender, he likely would have played out the season on that salary, becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2016. A big year would have put him in a good position to land an even larger deal, and the Broncos wouldn’t have had the right of first refusal at that point.

With Anderson headed back to Denver, he looks like the favorite to be the No. 1 back for the Broncos in 2016 — not only does he have a big new contract, but fellow running back Ronnie Hillman is currently a free agent. As for the Dolphins, they still have 2015 draftee Jay Ajayi, but will likely continue to monitor the market for a veteran to complement him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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6 comments on “Broncos To Match Dolphins’ Offer Sheet For C.J. Anderson

  1. Rory Parks

    I’m a little surprised by this, as Kubiak’s offense can make almost any running back look at least decent, and the Broncos might have been better off using their money elsewhere. But I like Anderson, and he’s certainly good enough to be a No. 1 back (to the extent that there is such a thing as a No.1 back these days), so the AAV sounds about right.

    • That’s expensive for an iffy running back. They could have brought back Ronnie Hillman at a cheaper clip. Could have gotten a cheaper veteran possibly too in Morris, Foster, Ridley, or Thomas. Also could use a 3rd rounder on a RB. They should have used that money on other positions.

      • Matthew Madsen

        What makes him iffier than any other RB? One year where the injury bug got him? Really? Thebguys an elite talent.

  2. Elway over-leveraged him testing the market w/ no return if somebody picked him up. So as far as decision-making, after the way chips fell, he was backed into a corner.

    That being said Elway can play it off as if he was doing a low-tier offer to test the market and then take him back at “market value”.

    Overall, I’m thrilled. I was rooting for him back when he was still a #3 back. I think he’s real fun to watch and loves being a Bronco so as a fan I’m really pleased he didn’t let him go. He’s not A-list, but he’s really good at squeezing 3-4 yards into 7-8 yards and is a great red zone asset.

  3. Sam Robinson

    A bizarre business decision on multiple levels. The Broncos have not re-signed a running back for a notable contract during the entire Shanahan/Kubiak periods of zone-blocking. It’s an interesting move to make Anderson the first, especially after seemingly bungling his RFA decision. That said, this could work out for Denver if Anderson can deliver the production he showed down the stretch of the past two seasons. A yards-after-contact ball-carrier who showed up consistently for the Broncos in big spots, Anderson has potential and is only 25. A good year from him in 2016 could have made a four-year, $18MM deal untenable for him as a UFA had the Broncos attached a second-round tender to him. But with no guaranteed money in the back two years of this deal, the Broncos may have just bought low — the immense first-year cap hit notwithstanding — on their next successful runner under Kubiak

    • It is bizarre and it’s the market swaying from a failed QB buy that brought it on. But as you said there’s only a real 2-year commitment in this anyway. So it’ not that much ventured. CJ’s earned his own brand of RB in a way where he doesn’t zoom through pockets, explode from the pocket or use lateral motion. He’s got this bull rush slippery push that just drills through (and sometimes surprises).

      If he can continue to gain route option knowledge in the pocket in a system that works for him and stay healthy, this could surprise us all really.

      Given the way that Kubiak is a very strong run-game coach one might argue that this deal going through was more important than that Osweiler one.

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