After the Buffalo Bills traded for LeSean McCoy, that signaled an obvious end to the days of C.J. Spiller carrying the ball in Orchard Park. The Bills informed Spiller that he would not be returning to Buffalo, although it appears possible that the former star running back from Clemson may not have to leave the AFC East. Multiple sources are reporting that the other three teams in the division are showing interest in Spiller, with the New York Jets, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins all making sense as potential landing spots. Along with those three teams, other rumors are swirling that say that the Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers may also consider making a run at signing Spiller.
Of course, these are nothing but rumors and speculation. Anything can happen when it comes to NFL Free Agency. Yesterday, I told you that the Chicago Bears were likely to trade Brandon Marshall, but I never thought that it would be to the Jets. So, while the aforementioned teams may have demonstrated an interest in signing Spiller, that does not mean that you can discount another team swooping in as a surprise darkhorse.
On paper, the Eagles and Jets would appear to be the favorites. Philadelphia just traded its No. 1 running back, and Chip Kelly wanted to trade for Spiller last season when he was still in Buffalo. It would only make sense that the Eagles could once again show an interest in signing him.
As for the Jets, Spiller enjoyed great success in the spread offense run by new offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey. Spiller could remain in the AFC East and continue to square off against the same defenses that he has throughout his entire NFL career.
That would also be true if Spiller were to sign with the Dolphins or Patriots. Though both of smaller stature, the Dolphins would be interested in pairing Spiller with Lamar Miller, while the Patriots would likely use Spiller to replace Shane Vereen in a complimentary role.
That would ideally be the role for whichever team that winds up retaining Spiller’s services. In Arizona, the Cardinals would like to lessen the load of Andre Ellington, which would give the team a pair of former Tigers’ running backs, though both undersized. The Lions would use Spiller in a similar role that was filled by Reggie Bush in the past, although my guess is that Theo Riddick will be given that opportunity. If the 49ers move on from Frank Gore, they could look to sign Spiller to share carries with Carlos Hyde.