CHARLOTTE, NC (WIS) - The Carolina Panthers have signed free agent running back CJ Anderson, formerly of the Denver Broncos, to fill the veteran presence that's been vacant since Jonathan Stewart was released in February.
Anderson joins an RB corps headlined by 2017's No. 8 overall pick Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey was set to take over the role of lead back following Stewart's release, but will now have to beat Anderson for the starting position.
Anderson finished 2017 with career highs in games played, rushing attempts, and rushing yards including the first 1,000-yard season of his five-year career. Anderson had 3 rushing touchdowns in 2017, peaking with 10 total touchdowns in 2014 (8 rushing, 2 receiving).
The one-year deal Anderson received from the Panthers is indicative that Anderson intends to win the starting job over McCaffrey who had less than 500 rushing yards, but totaled 1,000 total yards from scrimmage.
One contributing factor to Anderson arriving in Charlotte may be his pass blocking ability, which is highly touted, but also something that McCaffrey was not expected to contribute to, given his offensive production in the passing game.
Anderson received a Pro Bowl selection for his 2014 performance and was a member of the 2015 Broncos team helmed by QB Peyton Manning that would defeat the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Stewart, on the other hand, has since signed with the New York Giants but faces stiff competition after the Giants selected Penn State RB Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Broncos expect RB Devontae Booker, from the University of Utah, to take over the starting role, but Booker has only averaged 3.6 yards per carry in his two seasons in the NFL.