NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ever since the Jets were mentioned as a possible landing spot for offensive coordinator Chan Gailey they were spoken of in the same breath as pending free agent running back C.J. Spiller.
According to a report in Metro New York, the Jets are prepared to make signing Spiller a top priority once free agency begins on March 10.
A league source told the newspaper, “Spiller will be one of the players the Jets pursue. Not just kick the tires on, but pursue,” adding “Chan Gailey would like him here in New York. He’s the pass-catching option out of the backfield that the Jets need for this offense and he’s a playmaker.”
Spiller, who played his first five NFL seasons in Buffalo, posted a career-high 1,244 rushing yards and a 6.0 average, plus 43 receptions, 459 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns during the 2012 season, the last season Gailey was the head coach of the Bills.
A former standout in college at Clemson, Spiller is known for his explosiveness. He once ran the 40 in 4.37 seconds and is considered as difficult a running back to contain in the open field as there is.
His problem of late has been his health as he was limited to just five games during the 2014 season due to a shoulder injury. However, when 100 percent he could prove to be the dynamic change-of-pace back next to starter Chris Ivory the Jets thought they had when they signed veteran Chris Johnson last offseason.
The Jets announced last week they would not be picking up the 29-year-old Johnson’s option for 2015.
It is believed that the Jets, who turned over their entire front office and coaching staff following last season’s 4-12 debacle, will try to use free agency to put more weapons around a suspect-at-best quarterback situation. Metro’s source said Spiller would be a fantastic upgrade.
“The offense isn’t bad, it needs a spark. Spiller? He can do that for the Jets and don’t think that the Jets don’t know it. They will pursue him,” the source said.
The Jets figure to be at least $40 million under the salary cap when free agency opens next month, and are expected to address several areas, including their secondary and linebacking corps.