Panthers sign ex-Broncos running back C.J. Anderson to replace Jonathan Stewart
Anderson, who spent the first five years of his career with the Broncos, became a free agent in mid-April Over the past four seasons, during which he handled the majority of the carries for the Broncos, Anderson averaged 4.4 yards per attempt and five rushing touchdowns per season. In his first full 16-game season last year, he hit the 1,000-yard mark for the first time, even though he was stuck in a miserable, quarterback-less Broncos offense.
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Anderson’s been a solid, if not great running back since leaving Cal for the NFL. When he’s on his game, he’s good bordering on great. But inconsistency has plagued him throughout his career.
In Carolina, Anderson joins a backfield that is led by last year’s first-round pick, the multidimensional Christian McCaffrey, but he should still get opportunities to carry the ball. Last season, Stewart, , led the team with 198 carries — 81 more than McCaffrey, who contributed significantly more in the passing game by leading the team in receptions with 80. McCaffrey might see his carries increase in his second professional season, which means Anderson might not eclipse the 200-carry mark, but Anderson should still expect to garner a decent-sized workload considering he’s joining a run-happy offense. Together — and with Cam Newton, of course — they should form a formidable rushing attack.
Anderson isn’t a superstar, but he’s an upgrade over the older Stewart. And Carolina is an upgrade for Anderson, who gets to play alongside an NFL-caliber quarterback in an offense that should lean on its running backs due to its lack of high-quality receivers. In short, Carolina was always a destination that made sense for Anderson. On Monday, the pairing finally happened.