KUSA – Christian McCaffrey has a new but familiar running mate.
The Carolina Panthers just signed former Broncos’ running back C.J. Anderson to a one-year contract worth around $2 million. There are incentives in the deal that would allow Anderson to earn close to another $1 million. The signing was first reported on twitter by Pro Football Talk.
“I’m super excited for a new opportunity,’’ Anderson said. “It’s a championship-caliber team. I get a chance to win another one. I think their style of play fits my game well.’’
It’s not the kind of deal you’d expect for a running back coming off a 1,000-yard rushing season, as Anderson did in 2017 for the Broncos. But Anderson didn’t hit the opening of the free agent market in early-March. He was released by the Broncos five weeks after the free agency period opened.
Several teams – most notably Green Bay, Baltimore and Carolina – expressed interest in Anderson.
But once teams are done spending in free agency, money gets tight.
With the Panthers, Anderson figures to replace Jonathan Stewart’s power back role while McCaffrey, the former Valor Christian and Stanford great who was Carolina’s No. 8 overall draft pick last year, serves as an outside runner and pass catcher.
McCaffrey had 117 rushes last year (for 435 yards) and 80 catches (for 651 yards).
“I’m looking forward to working with him,’’ Anderson said. “He can do some special things. I’ll get to know him and we’ll work well together.’’
Anderson rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown against Carolina in the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 title. Undrafted out of California when he signed with the Broncos in 2013, Anderson made the Pro Bowl in 2014 thanks to a strong second half of that season, and he had his first 1,000-yard season last year.
Anderson made $6 million in 2016 and $3 million last year. He was released by the Broncos last month in lieu of a $4.5 million salary he was scheduled to make in 2018. The Broncos' running back room will now be led by third-year player Devontae Booker and rookie Royce Freeman with De'Angelo Henderson trying to fight off seventh-round rookie David Williams and undrafted, seventh-round rookie David Williams for the No. 3 back role.
“I wish them good luck,’’ Anderson said. “Simple as that, good luck.’’