The first strange move of the season came across the wire today, as the Saints released backup running back CJ Spiller. The move surprised many across the league. Spiller has struggled to stay healthy, but had finally been cleared right before the game against Oakland last week.
Cutting @CJSPILLER best thing for his career. Not the style of offense he needs around, plus they have depth there. He’ll land somewhere.
— Scott Cole (@ScottColeShow) September 13, 2016
The Saints scratched Spiller before game time, and Sean Payton listed it as a scheme issue. The move was puzzling, but far from an indicator that Spiller would be let go.
C.J. Spiller still has plenty of gas left in the tank. Dangerous weapon coming out of the backfield. https://t.co/eL5pPEIw7k
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) September 14, 2016
It’s especially confusing for the Saints, who already have close to $40 million in dead cap space tied to players not even on the roster anymore. And now the Saints will pay Spiller to not play.
Saints got 198 offensive snaps out of CJ Spiller for $9M.
— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) September 13, 2016
It’s odd that the Saints would wait this long and then cut Spiller right as he’s getting healthy. Maybe there’s something behind the scenes, but it certainly doesn’t make sense to cut your clear most talented tailback just as the season gets started.