Dolphins may take second chance to pursue C.J. Anderson

Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, NFL News

The Miami Dolphins didn’t quite get C.J. Anderson the first time around, but their second chance to get him seems to be coming.

The Denver Broncos may make a run at Kirk Cousins in free agency, but they’ll need more salary cap space to do it. To that end running back C.J. Anderson has surfaced as a candidate to be cut, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald expects the Dolphins to have interest.

The Dolphins signed Anderson to an offer sheet two years ago, but the Broncos matched it and kept him. Adam Gase, then Miami’s new head coach, was Denver’s offensive coordinator in 2014 when Anderson became a factor in the Broncos’ offense and rushed for 849 yards (4.7 yards per carry) with eight touchdowns.

Miami had the league’s 29th-ranked rush offense last year (86.8 yards per game), with a tied for league-low four touchdowns on the ground.

Kenyan Drake emerged after Jay Ajayi was traded, with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games in early December on his way to 644 rushing yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 32 receptions (29 from Week 9 on). Drake showed he can function as a workhorse, averaging 21.6 touches per game over the final five games of the season, but a talent-bare Dolphins’ offense that is likely to lose wide receiver Jarvis Landry in free agency needs a lot of help.

Anderson is coming off the first 1,000-yard season of his career, and he continued to be a capable pass catcher (28 receptions last season). But his rushing touchdown total continued to drop, to three from that peak of eight in 2014, with yards per carry averages in the last two seasons of 4.0 (2016) and 4.1 (2017).

Denver may have saved Miami from a mistake a couple years ago by matching their offer sheet to Anderson. A second chance to get him won’t be expensive, but Anderson is not the difference-making back to really spark a lagging running game.

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