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Could the New Orleans Saints release C.J. Spiller this off-season?

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As the regular season is nearing a end, we’ll take a look at several players, who we think should move on from their current team. Today, we’ll look at New Orleans Saints running back C.J. Spiller.

He signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Saints in the off-season after coming to the team from the Buffalo Bills. But since signing this contract, he’s been a complete bust.

There’s definitely buyers remorse in this deal, as he has just 110 rushing yards on 34 carries this season. Sure, he was playing behind Mark Ingram with the Saints, along with Khiry Robinson.

However, even with Robinson and Ingram out with injuries, it doesn’t appear that the Saints will make him the featured back. The production isn’t there to make him that, as the team will likely make Tim Hightower the featured guy on Sunday.

Cutting Spiller will definitely hurt the team with the salary cap. But the Bills dumped him in the off-season, and are currently responsible for $2.167 million in dead cap space belonging to Spiller on their salary cap.

He was initially given $5.75 million guaranteed, which included his 2015 salary and his signing bonus. But he’s proven that he’s not worth that money, and it wouldn’t be surprising that the team cuts him before the third league day of 2016 when his 2016 base salary becomes fully guaranteed.

By releasing him, they’ll have a cap hit of $4.5 million with $3.75 million in dead cap
space. He’s not even 29-years-old yet, but his career is definitely on the downside of his
career, as his numbers have drastically fallen off.

Last season, he had 78 carries for 300-yards, which resulted in his release in March. This would be the second straight team to release him after his playing skills have declined.

The Saints would also have $4.85 million and $4.65 million salary cap hits over the next two seasons by cutting Spiller now before his contract ends in 2019. The dead cap space drops to $2.5 million in 2017, then to $1.25 million in 2018.

The Saints are going to have many changes in the off-season. And when a head coach can’t figure out how to get a running back more involved, one has to wonder if he’s really into it when the team isn’t doing good. Head coach Sean Payton’s name has already been rumored that he’ll move on in the off-season.

Payton has said that Spiller’s training camp knee injury has hampered him this season. But that happened months ago, and he should be fully heathly by now, regardless of Payton says.

“We’re going to get a chance to see him now,” Payton said. “I think the training camp injury set him back some and then it’s just a matter of the confidence and explosion off that knee, but he will play a significant role as will Tim Hightower and even (Marcus) Murphy.”

“I think the injury in training camp affected him. It’s the one player that I’m trying to figure out what are the touches and I think that put him behind and hopefully down the stretch we can give him enough touches to see.”

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Saints turn the team over and start a rebuilding process around future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. He’s their most valuable assess and is still playing at a high level, while his teammates are not playing to a high level as him, as the Saints are in the basement of the NFC South with a 4-8 mark.


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