C.J. Anderson

North Notes: Bears, Anderson, Steelers

Anthony Miller showed promise for the Bears as a rookie, hauling in seven touchdown receptions and being a key player from the outset of the team’s NFC North championship season. The Memphis product dealt with a shoulder injury, however, for much of the season. Miller said he dislocated his shoulder at least five times during his rookie campaign, with Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune noting the first such dislocation came in September and the last had him a shell of his optimal version. By season’s end, Miller had faded, finishing his first regular season with a four-catch, 25-yard December. Miller underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in January and expects to be limited throughout the Bears’ offseason program, per Kane, but understandably anticipates a production increase as an NFL sophomore — should he sufficiently recover from this ailment.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Details are in on C.J. Anderson‘s Lions deal, courtesy of Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The veteran running back’s one-year agreement is worth nearly $1.5MM and can max out at $3MM (Twitter links). Anderson received $200K to sign. Anderson signed for one year and nearly $1.7MM with the Panthers last year. Both of these agreements represent steep pay reductions when compared to Anderson’s previous four-year, $18MM Broncos pact. But the 27-year-old back stands to play a key part in Detroit’s backfield this season, perhaps setting him up for another contract in 2020.
  • Despite the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger having been engaged in extension discussions for more than a month, no impasse between the parties exists, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. While the Steelers have spoken with Big Ben’s agent, Ryan Tollner, little dialogue has transpired between the Steelers and their 16th-year quarterback, Dulac adds. One year and $23.2MM remain on Roethlisberger’s current deal. Despite entering his age-37 season, Roethlisberger stands to take on even greater importance this coming year — considering the caliber of players the Steelers recently lost.
  • The Steelers are doing some research on higher-end cornerbacks in this year’s draft, hosting Rock Ya-Sin and Justin Layne on pre-draft visits Friday, Ray Fittipaldo of the Post-Gazette notes. A former Division I-FCS transfer who played just one season at Temple, the 6-foot Ya-Sin nevertheless rates as the No. 29 overall prospect on NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s board. A converted wide receiver, the 6-2 Layne started two seasons as a corner at Michigan State.
  • After a three-arrest offseason, running back Mark Walton received his walking papers from the Bengals.

Lions To Sign C.J. Anderson

C.J. Anderson‘s late-season success produced another contract offer. The former Pro Bowl running back agreed to terms Monday on a one-year deal with the Lions, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

This will mark the veteran running back’s fifth team in the past 12 months. But Anderson has left his mark with multiple franchises during a six-year career and will have a chance to contribute in Detroit.

Prior to Anderson catching on with the Rams in what turned out to be a pivotal agreement, he worked out for the Lions last November. The 27-year-old back will now have a chance to play alongside Kerryon Johnson. LeGarrette Blount‘s contract expired after last season. The Lions now have a new power-based back in place to fill that role, one coming off a borderline-dominant stretch.

In his first game subbing in for Todd Gurley, Anderson gained 167 rushing yards and scored a touchdown. He followed up his Week 16 performance with another 100-yard game, averaging 7.0 yards per carry as a regular-season Ram. The former Broncos Pro Bowler then teamed with Gurley to bulldoze the Cowboys, with the Rams newcomer gaining 123 yards and scoring twice in Los Angeles’ divisional-round win.

This helped re-establish the running back after both the Panthers and Raiders released him during the season. Prior to his successful Rams stint, Anderson was seldom used as a Panther, receiving just 24 carries last season. He totaled 43 in his two regular-season Rams games.

The Lions were clearly interested in bringing a piece of the Rams’ running game to the Motor City. They submitted an offer sheet to Malcolm Brown, but the Rams matched it. Detroit re-signed Zach Zenner and has Kerwynn Williams on its roster, but Anderson almost certainly stands to have a key role.

As a Bronco, Anderson made the 2014 Pro Bowl after breaking out down the stretch that season. In 2015, he was a vital part of a Super Bowl champion outfit, helping a Denver team that had seen Peyton Manning decline suddenly. Anderson finished the season with 100 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in Super Bowl 50. In 2017, he rushed for a career-high 1,007 yards. The Broncos released Anderson in April 2018 pivoted to younger backs.

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NFC Notes: Wilson, Foles, Newton, Rams

We heard in early January that the Seahawks would begin contract negotiations with star QB Russell Wilson “soon,” but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes that the two sides have yet to have a single contract discussion. Wilson is under club control through the 2019 season and is set to earn $17MM next year, and he has previously stated he would be willing to play out the final year of his deal and perhaps go year-to-year under the franchise tag. But as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times observes, the fact that Wilson and the Seahawks have not talked contract yet does not mean much (Twitter link). He says the team will get through other team-building matters first and then start exploring extensions, just as it did when it came time to explore a new deal with Wilson in 2015.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • We know that the Eagles want to trade Nick Foles, and yesterday we explored (again) how such a trade is likely to come about. While player and club would like to work “in concert” in determining Foles’ next team, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP) says the Eagles are going to try to keep Foles out of the NFC East — the Redskins and Giants could be in the market — and would prefer to deal him to an AFC team. Meanwhile, Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic believes it only make sense for the Eagles to franchise Foles if they already have a trade in place, and that the recent chatter concerning the franchise tag is merely a bluff at this point.
  • Schefter confirms a report from earlier this week that Panthers QB Cam Newton, who underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery last week, is expected to be ready in time for training camp and certainly will be good to go when the regular season rolls around.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says that the Rams, who signed running back C.J. Anderson in December, “absolutely” want to re-sign Anderson this offseason. That makes sense considering how good Anderson has been in his brief tenure with the club, and considering Todd Gurley‘s history of knee problems. Anderson, though, could be in line for a bigger role or salary than what Los Angeles is prepared to give. Anderson is expected to get plenty of work in tonight’s Super Bowl.
  • Rams QB coach Zac Taylor will be formally announced as the Bengals’ next head coach tomorrow, and Rapoport tweets that LA may move senior offensive assistant Jedd Fisch to QB coach. The club could also give current TE coach/passing game coordinator Shane Waldron the passing game coordinator title without requiring him to coach a position and bring in Wes Phillips to coach the tight ends.
  • As expected, the Buccaneers will transition to a 3-4, one-gap defense under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Laine looks at how the Bucs could deploy their current personnel to mirror Wade Phillips‘ success in transitioning two 4-3 defenses to 3-4 schemes.

Todd Gurley Could Miss Week 17

While Todd Gurley‘s knee injury has been described as “day-to-day,” but it still sounds like the Rams running back might not suit up for this weekend’s game against the 49ers. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the team may show similar caution this weekend by keeping Gurley on the sideline (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra). According to Rapoport, the team is operating under the logic that “nothing is more important than the playoffs.”

Of course, the Rams aren’t planning on punting next weekend’s contest. The team could still secure a first-round bye with a victory. If the Rams lose and the Bears win, Los Angeles would find themselves playing in the first-round of the playoffs. There’s obvious incentive to win, which provides some optimism that Gurley could end up seeing the field.

After missing practice all of last week, Gurley ended up missing the Rams’ win over the Cardinals yesterday. The running back started experiencing knee inflammation during a loss to the Eagles earlier this month, although there was some optimism that he wouldn’t be forced to miss any games. The 24-year-old is having another standout season in 2018, compiling 1,251 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 256 carries. He has also added another 59 receptions for 580 yards and four scores.

Fortunately for the Rams, the running game didn’t skip a beat yesterday. Recently-signed veteran C.J. Anderson finished the contest with 167 rushing yards and one touchdown on 20 carries. The Rams are also rostering former undrafted free agent Justin Davis and sixth-round rookie John Kelly, and the trio should be fine going against a 49ers defense that is allowing 110 rushing yards per game.

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Rams To Sign C.J. Anderson

C.J. Anderson will soon be part of a fourth team this year. The longtime Broncos starter will land with the Rams, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

Rams starter Todd Gurley is day-to-day with knee inflammation, and Anderson — who surpassed 1,000 yards in 2017 but has not been able to stick with a team this year — would provide far more experience than Los Angeles’ current cadre of backups does.

With top Gurley backup Malcolm Brown out for the season, only sixth-round rookie John Kelly and former UDFA Justin Davis resided on L.A.’s roster. They have five career carries between them.

A four-year starter in Denver, Anderson played a key role for the franchise’s past two playoff-qualifying teams and stayed healthy throughout the 2017 season to gain 1,007 yards on the ground on an otherwise poor offense. But the Broncos released him in April, and Anderson’s subsequent Panthers affiliation did not last long. Carolina cut Anderson in November, and the Raiders employed him for merely a week.

This Rams stay may be short, too, or, considering the lack of experience behind Gurley, the team may eye the 27-year-old back as a stretch-run No. 2 behind its All-Pro.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Waive C.J. Anderson

C.J. Anderson‘s stay back in the AFC West did not last long. The Raiders made the decision to waive the veteran running back on Tuesday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

The Bay Area native signed with Oakland a week ago but did not play in the Raiders’ upset win over the Steelers on Sunday. This marks the third time Anderson has been cut in 2018.

This comes on the heels of an Anderson 1,000-yard season in ’17. While the Broncos possessed one of the NFL’s worst offenses last year, Anderson had a strong season. However, Denver waited until April to release Anderson and went with rookies as its primary backs this season. Carolina cut bait on Anderson midway through this season, with Christian McCaffrey becoming a usage dynamo in his second year to leave little room for a complementary back.

Doug Martin showing he was healthy led to this move, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area (on Twitter). The Chiefs showed interest in Anderson earlier this month but reunited with longtime backup Charcandrick West instead.

Raiders Sign RB C.J. Anderson

C.J. Anderson has found a new gig, and it isn’t in Kansas City. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the Raiders have signed the veteran running back.

After spending the first five seasons of his career with the Broncos, the 27-year-old joined the Panthers during the offseason. The running back ended up playing sparingly for his new team, compiling 104 rushing yards on only 24 carries. He was waived by the Panthers last month, and he had subsequent workouts with the Lions and Chiefs.

The Raiders have needed some reinforcement at running back, especially following the season-ending injury to Marshawn Lynch. Anderson still managed to rush for 1,000 yards last season, so he could easily overtake Doug Martin and pass-catcher Jalen Richard atop the Raiders’ depth chart. At the very least, the organization has an opportunity to evaluate the veteran before the offseason. The move also presents a homecoming for Anderson, who grew up in Vallejo, California.

Following his workout with Kansas City, it was reported that the Chiefs brought in the running back ”with the intent of signing him to a contract if he passes” a physical. This made plenty of sense after the team waived Kareem Hunt, as the Chiefs’ backfield was left with Spencer Ware, Damien Williams, and Darrel Williams. The team ended up opting for former player Charcandrick West, presumably taking them out of the running for Anderson.

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C.J. Anderson Visiting Chiefs, Likely To Sign

The Chiefs are wasting no time bringing in running back help in the wake of the waiving Kareem Hunt, as C.J. Anderson will visit the team this week, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com

Florio adds that the Chiefs are bringing him in”with the intent of signing him to a contract if he passes” a physical. Former Chiefs running back Charcandrick West will also be brought in for a workout, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted in a follow-up tweet. Without Hunt, the Chiefs are very thin in the backfield. New started Spencer Ware struggled today against the Raiders, one of the worst rushing defenses in the league, gaining only 47 yards on 14 carries, so it makes sense why they’re looking for help. Anderson was waived by the Panthers a few weeks ago because he wasn’t happy with his reduced role.

He also recently worked out for the Lions in the wake of Kerryon Johnson‘s injury, but his market has been pretty quiet other than that. Before this season, Anderson had spent the first five years of his career with the Broncos. Anderson has done quite well for an undrafted free agent, averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 717 carries for his career.

He rushed for 1,007 yards with Denver last year, but was met with a very quiet free agent marked this past offseason. He had to settle for a one year deal from Carolina, and although he had a decent role at the beginning of the season, he quickly became a distant second option behind Christian McCaffrey. That being said, he should immediately get playing time if he signs with Kansas City, and could push Ware for the starting job. It’s a nice addition for this time of year, and Anderson is still only 27.

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Lions Work Out RB C.J. Anderson

Operating as the Broncos’ starter for a fourth straight season in 2017, C.J. Anderson exceeded 1,000 rushing yards for the first time. But he’s been released twice this year.

The Panthers cut the sixth-year running back earlier this season, but the Lions are looking into him, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets. Anderson worked out for the Lions on Tuesday.

Christian McCaffrey‘s played on 97 percent of the Panthers’ offensive snaps this season, leaving little time for Anderson. The 27-year-old back envisioned a chance to hit the 2019 free agency market after a productive season. With 24 carries for 104 yards, the UDFA success story has not contributed much in 2018.

The Broncos cut Anderson in April, putting the running back in a similar position to Dez Bryant — only at a position on which teams don’t spend as much money. He rushed for 1,007 yards in 2017 and was key to Denver’s 2015 Super Bowl march, amassing 234 yards in the three Bronco playoff games that year. The Broncos matched a four-year, $18MM Dolphins offer sheet in 2016 and deployed Anderson as their starter the following two seasons before cutting bait and going with younger backs this year.

Detroit has been without Kerryon Johnson, going with LeGarrette Blount, Zach Zenner and pass-catching back Theo Riddick in that time.

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Panthers Waive RB C.J. Anderson

The Panthers waived running back C.J. Anderson, according to a team announcement. Anderson was signed in May, but he was used far less than anticipated this season.

When we signed C.J. in the spring he saw a bigger role than he has had, and honestly, at the time so did we,” general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. “But Christian McCaffrey has taken so much of the offense and so much of the plays, we just made the decision that this was the best thing for all parties involved.”

Anderson, 27, was a surprise cut by the Broncos after he ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2017. The 27-year-old wanted to reassert himself in Carolina, but he wound up with just 24 carries in nine games. On the plus side, he was efficient in that limited sample as he averaged 4.3 yards per tote.

Anderson is a vested veteran, but he’ll be subject to waivers now that the trade deadline has passed. With a reasonable $1.75MM cap figure on an expiring deal, it stands to reason that several teams will consider placing a claim on him. If not, he won’t last long as a free agent.

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