The New York Jets are have lost one explosive running back in Chris Johnson, and are rumored to be looking at replacing him with a newer model in C.J. Spiller.
The Jets decided not to pick up Johnson’s $500,000 option for 2015, leaving a hole in the backfield that many think could be filled by the team’s former rival back in Spiller, who is two years younger than Johnson.
“[General Manager Mike Maccagnan] needs a home run threat to put alongside Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell,” wrote Ernie Palladino of CBS New York. “Now armed with nearly $49 million of cap space, the fourth-most comfortable cushion in the league according to OverTheCap.com, the Jets will basically have their pick of a talent-rich field that includes C.J. Spiller, DeMarco Murray, Justin Forsett, Ryan Mathews, and Shane Vereen, among others.”
The situation could make sense both for C.J. Spiller and the New York Jets. Moving to New York would allow Spiller to reunite with former coach Chan Gailey, now the Jets offensive coordinator. It was under Gailey that Spiller saw his best seasons, with the offensive-minded coach finding creative ways to get Spiller into open space where he excels the best.
Spiller’s last two seasons under Doug Marrone were largely disappointing, as Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett struggled to best utilize Spiller.
ESPN writer Rich Cimini thinks Spiller going to the Jets would make for a great marriage.
“Spiller is a pending free agent and looms as a possibility because of his background with coordinator Chan Gailey and his system. Gailey was the Buffalo Bills’ coach when they drafted Spiller out of Clemson in 2010, and he was a great fit in Gailey’s spread offense. A dangerous two-way threat, Spiller enjoyed a career year in 2012, racking up 1,703 yards from scrimmage. He spent the last two seasons injured or in Doug Marrone’s doghouse.”
For the New York Jets, obtaining Spiller would give an important boost to an already strong rushing attack and give the team a much-needed playmaker to take the pressure off Geno Smith. In effect, C.J. Spiller could be what the Jets hoped to get out of Chris Johnson, who was unable to regain his former home run threat form while with the Jets.
There have been rumors for weeks that the New York Jets were interested in C.J. Spiller, with some reports suggesting that new head coach Todd Bowles might make Spiller his first big “get” in free agency.