C.J. Anderson is better than you think he is.
Anderson got released on Monday. He may get signed to a team without the average NFL fan noticing. But Anderson is about to make a general manger look like he’s really good at his job.
Anderson won’t have any contract leverage, like so many veteran free agent running backs before him at this time of year. By April, NFL teams have identified and generally underpaid the free agent running back pool. The remaining needs will get filled in the upcoming draft, which boasts a strong running back crop. The best prospect in the draft is probably Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
Anderson may draw interest from a number of NFL teams, but they’re not going to pay him handsomely. He’ll get a modest deal.
A few months after he signs on the dotted line (of a contract that’ll probably be a “show-me” deal), he’s going to win the starting job in whatever backfield in which he lands. Then he’ll lead that team in rushing.
Maybe it’s because he underperforms in fantasy football. Maybe it’s because he never got a workhorse’s load in Denver. Maybe it’s because of his lack of career touchdowns. But he hasn’t gotten the props he deserves.
On a truly bad Denver Broncos offense in 2017, Anderson averaged 4.1 yards per carry for 1,007 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games. He also had 28 receptions for 338 yards and a touchdown. He had one fumble. The 27-year-old was the 11th most elusive running back in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. He received the No. 6 overall grade among backs. And he’s was the No. 1 pass-protector among running backs.
He may get paid a fraction of what Dion Lewis gets, but their production in 2018 might just be comparable.