7:06pm: The Dolphins have confirmed Anderson has signed the offer sheet the organization extended to him, according to the team’s Twitter account.
Anderson told Klis he only sought a second-round tender from the Broncos, a protection measure that would have probably kept him in Denver.
“I’m super humbled,” Anderson told Klis. “All I was asking for was a second-round tender. That’s all I was expecting. And now I’m going to make way more than a second-round tender.”
The only running back left on the Broncos’ roster who was with the team as an active-roster player last season is Juwan Thompson. with 2015’s leading rusher, Ronnie Hillman, residing as a UFA. Anderson supplanted Hillman in the playoffs, however, as the Broncos’ primary ball-carrier and gained 234 rushing yards to Hillman’s 54.
4:30pm: The offer sheet is “pretty vanilla,” a source tells Mike Florio of PFT, which would infer that does not have a creative or tricky structure.
4:26pm: Anderson’s offer sheet with the Dolphins features a $5.25MM signing bonus, according to Klis. Klis’ report adds that the deal includes a total payout of $6MM in 2016 and a guaranteed $3.5MM base salary for 2017.
While those terms are somewhat front-loaded, it sounds like the cap hit for 2016 should be fairly modest, so the Broncos may not be out of the running quite yet.
3:50pm: Restricted free agent running back C.J. Anderson has signed an offer sheet from the Dolphins, reports Mike Klis of 9NEWS (via Twitter). It’s a four-year deal, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com adds (via Twitter) that it’s worth $18MM, and the structure is expected to make it hard on Denver to match it.
The Broncos have the right of first refusal on Anderson, so they’ll have five days to match the Dolphins’ offer and bring back their free agent running back. If Denver opts not to match the offer sheet, the Broncos won’t receive any compensation for losing Anderson, who received only the low-end RFA tender.
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.
The Dolphins, whose new head coach Adam Gase was Anderson’s old offensive coordinator in Denver, are in the market for running back help after Lamar Miller agreed to sign with the Texans. If Miami ultimately lands Anderson, he’ll likely share the workload with Jay Ajayi in the Dolphins’ backfield.
The 49ers, Bears, and Patriots were also rumored to have interest in Anderson, once the Broncos decided not to give him a second-round tender.
Early indications were that the Broncos would likely match any offer sheet Anderson signed, but if Denver was unwilling to go from $1.671MM to $2.553MM on its tender to the running back, it seems feasible that a four-year, $18MM wouldn’t appeal to the team. If Anderson ultimately leaves the Broncos, he’ll be the latest in a string of departures this week. Brock Osweiler, Malik Jackson, and Danny Trevathan have all signed elsewhere.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.