Report: Patriots Expressing Interest In RFA Running Back C.J. Anderson

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The New England Patriots might find their coveted free-agent running back through more complicated means.

The Denver Broncos gave restricted free agent C.J. Anderson an original-round tender. That means a team can sign Anderson to an offer sheet, and if the Broncos decline to match, that team will receive him without giving up any compensation, since the running back entered the league as an undrafted free agent. The Broncos could have chosen to give Anderson a first- or second-round tender, which would have increased the one-year contract they were offering.

The Patriots are one of four teams expressing interest in Anderson, a source with knowledge of the situation told ProFootballTalk. The Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears also are in on Anderson, according to ProFootballTalk.

Anderson ran the ball 152 times for 720 yards with five touchdowns in 2015. He had 179 carries for 849 yards with eight touchdowns in 2014. He’s also showcased his versatility with 59 catches for 507 yards with two touchdowns in 35 career games.

Adding Anderson as a restricted free agent might be more cost efficient than signing an unrestricted free-agent running back.

The Patriots have Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, James White and Tyler Gaffney under contract at running back. LeGarrette Blount and Steven Jackson are unrestricted free agents.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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