Every single time a player is released in the NFL, do a quick Twitter search. Type in that player’s last name and then just cycle through all 32 teams after it.
You’re guaranteed to find a myriad of tweets suggesting [insert team] SHOULD DEFINITELY sign [insert recently cut player] from various Twitterverse inhabitants.
When I saw the news of the Saints cutting C.J. Spiller... I immediately searched “Spiller Bills” on Twitter. Within minutes of the reported transaction, there were five tweets proposing a Spiller - Buffalo reunion.
Just checked again.
The number has reached double digits.
The overwhelming majority of the time, the suggestions are, let’s say, not exactly well calculated recommendations and likely derived from the natural excitement that often arises when an opportunity to get something new presents itself.
On the surface, the Bills acquiring the veteran running back they chose not to sign during the 2015 offseason seems like it’d fall into the “not a brilliant idea” category, but after giving the homecoming some legitimate thought, I think it actually could be a logical decision for Buffalo.
First things first — the Bills did negotiate a bit with Spiller in late February 2015 but ultimately didn’t feel it was fiscally responsible to match New Orleans’ four-year, $18 million deal that included $9 million guaranteed. And I don’t think anyone really blamed Buffalo for not matching -- or exceeding — what the Saints offered for an oft-injured running back who, even when healthy, wasn’t that productive in his final two seasons in Western New York.
Turns out, Spiller simply wasn’t a workhorse runner after all. In his epic 2012 campaign, when he averaged a ridiculous 6.0 yards per carry, his 207 carries were the 23rd-most among all running backs. He’s been the most effective as a low-volume offensive weapon who needs space to operate and relies on hitting the HR, which he most certainly can do with his dynamic cutting ability and legitimate breakaway speed.
Which brings me to my next focus... Reggie Bush.
No, he didn’t have a productive outing his Bills’ debut. But in no way am I ready to completely bury him for what he did (or didn’t do) on four offensive snaps.
But obviously, Spiller could, in theory, fill the role Buffalo has envisioned for Bush quite nicely, and he’s two years Bush’s junior. Also, for what it’s worth, Spiller has 851 fewer career NFL touches from scrimmage than Bush.
In talking with some Rumblings staffers, most namely Jeff Hunter, we all agreed that technically, before anything else, Mike Gillislee deserves a long look as the Bills No. 2 RB if the coaches really aren’t impressed by what they’re getting from Bush and that the former Florida Gator is a better overall runner.
Just like Spiller, Bush is best as a “No. 3 RB / WR hybrid” anyway.
At this point, it wouldn’t be outrageous for Buffalo’s front office to prefer Spiller over Bush for that specific role. Beyond that, his reduced price tag could make him more appealing now than he was 18 months ago.
Is this a move the Bills absolutely have to make by tomorrow morning? No way. But Spiller coming back to Buffalo is not another Twitter suggestion that should be immediately dismissed.