The New Orleans Saints are ready to set C.J. Spiller loose, and could be planning a very large role for the under-used running back.
The explosive running back was one of the biggest offseason acquisitions for the Saints, who are going through a bit of an offensive overhaul by shipping playmakers Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills. Spiller has had difficulty playing to his potential so far, as his time with the Buffalo Bills was plagued by injuries and held back by a coaching staff that seemed unwilling or unable to play to his strengths.
But now free from the Bills, Spiller is looking forward to his new home, where quarterback Drew Brees will be able to take the pressure off.
“I won’t see eight guys in the box anymore,” Spiller said.
As the New Orleans Advocate‘s Nick Underhill notes, the Saints and coach Sean Payton are ready to use Spiller to his fullest.
“Coach Sean Payton didn’t sign Spiller to a lucrative deal to be vanilla. He would have kept Pierre Thomas on the roster if all he wanted out of this spot was screens and sweeps.”
“Some viewed this transaction as a luxury signing. It’s not. The satellite back has been a key piece of Payton’s offenses since he arrived in New Orleans. With Spiller, he once again has the chess piece who will allow him to get weird with his offensive packages, to borrow a phrase from defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.”
But C.J. Spiller could also be joining a very different New Orleans Saints team. There are rumors that there could be more big moves to the team’s offseason overhaul, including a possible move up in the NFL Draft to select Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
CBS Sports identified the Saints as one of a handful of teams very interested in Mariota.
“Picking 13th overall, and 31st overall, and with Drew Brees in what could be his last season in New Orleans and with Sean Payton remaking the team on the fly and making some shocking moves already (the Jimmy Graham trade, for one), getting a quarterback who looks like a tremendous scheme fit at a cheap price might be just want he needs.”
If that turns out to be true, then C.J. Spiller may be more than just a threat alongside Drew Brees — he could be a centerpiece for the new New Orleans Saints, one built around Mariota.
[Image via Sports World Report]