The Carolina Panthers made a big addition to one of the NFL’s most dynamic rushing attacks on Monday, signing former Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson to a one-year deal.
The team announced the deal on Twitter. Terms were not disclosed.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) May 7, 2018
What does Panthers’ C.J. Anderson signing mean for Cam Newton?
Anderson joins a Panthers offense that finished fourth in the NFL in rushing last season with 131.4 yards per game but leaned heavily on quarterback Cam Newton, who led the team with 754 rushing yards.
The team released 10-year veteran running back and franchise rushing leader Jonathan Stewart in the offseason, leaving a power gap in the backfield next to second-year running back Christian McCaffrey.
Anderson, 27, is a powerful runner with far NFL fewer miles on his body than Stewart and should fill in nicely for Stewart while providing an option other than Newton in short-yardage situations. He’s coming off his most productive NFL season with 1,007 rushing yards in Denver last year.
Newton, 28, has taken a beating throughout his career working behind a sometimes-shaky offensive line and playing fearlessly as a runner. As he approaches 30, the Panthers would be wise to limit his body blows, and Anderson should help on that front.
How will C.J. Anderson fit with Christian McCaffrey?
The Panthers drafted McCaffrey in the first round last season hoping to see the former Stanford running back develop into a dangerous playmaker. He showed flashed during his rookie season, tallying 435 rushing yards, 80 catches for 651 yards and seven touchdowns from scrimmage. But his role is that — as a playmaker. He’s not a primary or short-yardage runner, which makes Anderson an ideal fit as a backfield partner.
“As far as ground and pound, the ‘Keep Pounding’ slogan that Carolina likes to (use), the ground and pound game I think fits (me) well,” Anderson told the Charlotte Observer. “Breaking tackles and finding ways to use that to make long runs and bigger plays, also catching the ball out of the backfield, too.
“But having a guy like McCaffrey, who’s super shifty and also can do some of the same things, it can be a great complementary (relationship) with each other.”
The Panthers pride themselves as an NFL rushing power and added insurance on Monday that they will remain one. When Newton, McCaffrey and Anderson are in the backfield together, defenses will have a difficult time matching up and deciding where to focus.
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