Elway’s Master Plan: The stinkin’ truth behind the C.J. Anderson contract

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A lot has been said since the Denver Broncos matched C.J. Anderson's offer from the Miami Dolphins. Fans and media have argued whether or not it was a good move but many of those arguments are cast without using the actual facts surrounding the situation.

Ex-Broncos offensive lineman Mark Schlereth voiced his opinion on his own show on FM 104.3 The Fan on Wednesday, saying that matching the Dolphins offer was a "panic stricken" move by the Broncos. What led up to this was Schlereth's claim that the Broncos didn't care about C.J. Anderson. He claimed that if they valued him, they wouldn't have given him the late round tender worth only $1.671 million. He would again reiterate his point on ESPN by saying that it was a move made out of panic.

Schlereth's opinion is an interesting one because it seems to carry the sentiment of the public. It makes sense why many fans would agree with a view like this if they are looking at it plainly.

Unfortunately, Schlereth and the fans are misinformed. And in all fairness, it's an easy conclusion to come by if you weren't close to or don't understand the situation.

C.J. Anderson obviously didn't agree with the assessment either.

It's not as easy as just throwing your arms up and screaming "panic!" It's more complicated than just saying that the Broncos didn't want a guy and now they do.

The stinkin' truth is that the Broncos offered $11 million per year to Malik Jackson and $16 million per year to Brock Osweiler and they just flat-out didn't have the cap space to offer C.J. Anderson a long term deal. They were at that time working on restructuring Demarcus Ware's contract to add more space and are still trying to do the same with Ryan Clady now.

The business decision that the Broncos settled on was to tender C.J. Anderson at the smallest amount possible, wait to see what happens with all the offers that they had floating around, see if they could get some cap space back from Ware and Clady, and allow the market to set Anderson's value.

This would give the Broncos time to assess the situation, time to determine who was staying or leaving, and time to restructure deals. And if a claim was made for the player, the Broncos knew that they would have another five days to make a decision. They also knew that it wouldn't be a hard deal to match because of the condition of the running back market at the time.

And the plan worked perfectly.

The Broncos didn't end up retaining Osweiler or Jackson after both signed massive deals with perennial losers who must overspend to obtain talent, and they reworked Ware's deal. In the meantime, C.J's value was set by the market and within five days the Broncos comfortably matched a deal that they thought was totally fair for the runner.

For the entrepreneurs, investors, and business managers reading this, you totally get it. The Broncos did not commit to spending money that they might not have (in cap space), but they did commit the smallest amount of capital possible to retain their asset, and in the end, they ended up being able to match the market value and keep a great player.

Lastly, the second round tender that so many people think the Broncos should have given Anderson would have resulted in a $2.553 million cap hit. Interestingly enough, Anderson's new 4 year, $18 million deal, resulted in a cap hit of only $2.081 million because of the way the contract was structured. In other words, the Broncos saved nearly $500,000 in cap space by not giving him a second round tender.

There is a difference between being "brutally honest" and understanding the situation.


Here's some more stinkin' truth about C.J. Anderson 

- There is no running back in the NFL that has more yards per scrimmage in the final eight games of the last two seasons than C.J. Anderson. He not only gets better during games, but he gets better as the season progresses.

- Anderson is one of only three players in the NFL that have over 2,100 yards from scrimmage and 17 or more touchdowns in the last two seasons. The other two players are Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.

- C.J. averaged 4.5 yards per carry in the playoffs last year, known as the toughest time to carry the football, and ended up with nearly 100 yards in the Super Bowl.

- Did you know that Anderson averages 4.8 yards per carry for his career and that Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles are the only qualifying active running backs to average more?

- On top of all else, he had the third most yards after contact in the entire league last season.

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