If C.J. Anderson had been released by the Denver Broncos before free agency began in March, chances are good he'd be a Miami Dolphin today. If he'd been released not long after free agency began, chances are still good he'd be playing for coach Adam Gase.
Get this: If the Denver Broncos would have been willing to trade their most productive running back in 2017 for, say, a seventh-round pick last month, the Dolphins would have been interested. (Yeah, as long as Anderson would have redone his contract that was scheduled to pay him $4.5 million in 2018).
The Broncos were firm in their belief some team would give them a good return in trade for their player. So they held onto Anderson. And held on. And held on...
...Until no one bit. So the Broncos relented and released Anderson just before the start of their offseason conditioning program on Monday.
(Anderson must have loved that timing, 10 days before the draft).
So the demand for Anderson hasn't seemed high in the days since his release. Perhaps it's because teams believe they can get a younger, cheaper running back in the draft.
The Dolphins' expected interest in Anderson, meanwhile, simply has not manifested.
Remember Miami signed Anderson to a restricted free agent offer sheet in 2016 that Denver eventually matched so obviously the Dolphins were once keen on the player. And, I'm told, they would have been interested again earlier this offseason.
But that desire has all but evaporated now, according to a league source.
And the Dolphins all but confirmed that on Wednesday.
“We’ll certainly see what happens once we get after the draft with any free agents, and we’ll see where we are," Dolphins executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum said. "We’ve got to get through the draft here first. That’s the next opportunity and then we’ll look at other things once we get through that."
Yeah, about that.
Tannenbaum is reluctant to close any doors on anyone. Ever. They are opportunities and you don't publicly close doors on potential opportunities until the last moment.
But the Dolphins aren't planning to sign C.J. Anderson. They intend to add at least one running back and possibly a couple during the draft and in the undrafted free agent market afterward. That's what makes the most sense and that's Miami's sensible plan.
Beyond that, Anderson is no longer an option because Miami already added a veteran running back in Frank Gore and Gore's not being cut weeks after signing simply because someone else becomes available.
Anderson is also no longer an option because Miami needs to add a younger running back that might be able to play on special teams -- something Gore doesn't do and neither would Anderson.
Anderson is no longer an option because he doesn't fit in the running back room. Anderson wants to go to a team where he might get some carries. The Dolphins are committed to giving carries to Kenyan Drake and Gore. There wouldn't be any significant carries for a third veteran runner.
The only way Anderson fits now is if something horrible happens to one of the veterans already on Miami's roster. Or if the Dolphins fail to add a running back in a draft stocked with running backs.
Otherwise the C.J. Anderson to the Dolphins talk can stop now.