Replace one ‘CJ’ with another one. It’s that simple here in New York.
There’s no denying that the New York Jets need to make some moves this offseason if they are going to return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 season, and one of those moves has to be an addition to the backfield. With the move on Saturday to cut ties with running back Chris Johnson, a story broken by Metro New York this past Friday, it appears that the team already has circled his potential replacement in red.
That name? C.J. Spiller, the Buffalo Bills running back, who is set to be a free agent.
A league source told Metro New York on Wednesday that the Jets “will have interest in Spiller when free agency opens next month. Very serious interest.
“Spiller will be one of the players the Jets pursue. Not just kick the tires on, but pursue,” the league source said. “Chan Gailey would like him here in New York. He’s the pass catching option out of the backfield that the Jets need for this offense and he’s a playmaker.
“The offense isn’t bad, it needs a spark. Spiller? He can do that for the Jets and don’t think that the Jets don’t know it. They will pursue him.”
Gailey, of course, is the Jets' new offensive coordinator and the man who was the Bills' offensive coordinator from 2010-12, Spiller’s first three years in the league. The Bills running back peaked during Gailey’s final season in Buffalo when he rushed for 1,244 yards and a career-high six touchdowns. It seems to be a good fit for player and team.
With Johnson now gone, the top two players on the depth chart at running back are Chris Ivory, who had a very solid 2014 season, and Bilal Powell, under-appreciated by fans as well as the last coaching staff.
Spiller is set to enter his sixth season in the NFL and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2012, his lone year where he topped 1,000 rushing yards. While his production hasn’t always been consistent, and he’s only played a full season twice in his career, he’s a big play option out of the backfield, in large part due to his blazing speed.
At the NFL Combine in 2010, Spiller ran a blistering 4.37 time in the 40. He also can return kickoffs.