Sep 14, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller (28) runs the ball against the Miami Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Buffalo beats Miami 29 to 10. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Chan Gailey has been hired as the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets. Could C.J. Spiller be headed for a reunion with his former head coach?
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As one of the headlining impending free agents on the current Bills roster, I wrote a piece last week about how keeping Jerry Hughes was more important than re-signing Spiller. Obviously, much has changed in a week’s time, but I still favor Hughes if forced to pick one of the two. New head coach Rex Ryan has expressed his desire to keep Spiller in the fold, but it’s highly possible that C.J. has already made up his mind to leave. The fact that Ryan’s son Seth currently plays for Clemson creates a direct connection to Spiller, being a former Tiger himself. However, this connection is hardly a guarantee Spiller re-signs with Buffalo. Now that the initial buzz of the Rex Ryan hiring is starting to die down, it’s time for Ryan and general manager Doug Whaley to sit down and thoroughly take stock of the current roster. With former Bills head coach Chan Gailey now employed as the Jets offensive coordinator, it adds a new element to the Bills potential contract negotiations with Spiller. Per the New York Daily News, Spiller is quoted as saying “I’d be foolish not to have those guys on my list,” in reference to the Jets. It makes sense for Spiller to consider the Jets, as it would appear to be a perfect landing spot for him to rejuvenate his career.
Spiller enjoyed his most successful season as pro under Gailey in 2012, rushing for a career 1244 yards on only 207 carries (6.0 YPC). He also contributed a career high in receptions, hauling in 43 passes for an additional 459 yards. Gailey knew how to maximize Spiller’s talents in space in his spread based offense. The notion of a reunion will undoubtedly be on C.J.’s mind heading into free agency. As bad as the Jets were in 2014, they still ranked 3rd in the NFL in rushing, averaging just under 143 Yds/G on the ground. New Jets GM Mike Maccagnan is likely to cut bait with running back Chris Johnson, opening an ideal fit for Spiller to come in and compliment the bruising Chris Ivory. Should Spiller leave Buffalo, fans should be upset and somewhat worried if he lands in New York. Although the Bills have generally handled the Jets in very recent memory, the addition of a motivated Spiller will add an element of explosive playmaking ability they have sorely lacked. With a solid offensive line in place, and weapons like Chris Ivory, C.J. Spiller, Percy Harvin, and Eric Decker, the Jets could prove to be a much more formidable offense next season with Gailey running the show. If Spiller were to leave, I would certainly prefer that he signs somewhere outside of the division.