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C.J. Anderson could be an ideal replacement for Mark Ingram with New Orleans Saints

C.J. Anderson, Mark Ingram, Saints

This past season the New Orleans Saints showed that they’re still one of the best franchises in the league. Drew Brees had an amazing season, carrying his team all the way to the NFC Championship Game. Even though the Saints lost before reaching the Super Bowl, their performance was nothing short of expectations.

Brees was discussed as an MVP candidate all season long. Even though he ended up losing the award to sophomore phenom Patrick Mahomes, he was still quite spectacular. He threw for 3,992 yards with 32 touchdowns and five interceptions. His completion percentage sat at 74.4 percent, leading the entire league. He also was second in the league in quarterback rating at 81.9. His production was that of an all-time great.

However, what’s missed in discussing the Saints offense is their run game. They had great numbers coming from the backfield all season long. The duo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara worked like a charm.

Ingram was coming off two straight years of great play. He had rushed for over 1,000 rushing yards and 18 total touchdowns those two seasons. He’s also a solid threat as a receiver, catching 104 passes for 735 yards and four touchdowns. He compliments Brees extremely well and is very consistent.

This season though, Ingram missed the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s PED policy. In his 12 games played, he still totaled over 815 yards from scrimmage and had seven touchdowns. Who really shined though was his fellow running back Alvin Kamara. He totaled 1,592 yards from scrimmage and had 18 touchdowns. The duo was unstoppable, making the Saints one of the well-balanced offensive attacks in the league.

However, as Ingram is a free agent, the team needs to look in a different direction to replace his production. The 29-year-old running back is likely going to draw a lot of money in free agency. They have only around $10 million in cap room. Unless they further extend Brees’ contract, the team won’t have enough money to retain him.

A perfect replacement for his production that’s cost-efficient, C.J. Anderson could come in for pennies on the dollar and play excellent under Sean Payton.

Last season for the Los Angeles Rams, he ran for 407 yards with two touchdowns on the season. Anderson came off a 1,000-yard season with the Denver Broncos the season prior. He has the track record of being an efficient running back during first and second down situations.

He played perfectly as the second back behind Todd Gurley. When Gurley got hurt in the playoffs, Anderson stepped in and ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns. He has the playoff experience and the ability to join a running back committee.

The Saints are betting on another season of Brees staying healthy and not aging. To keep their success going, they need to shore up their running back core. Alvin Kamara is perfect in third-down situations. He’d get the majority of the touches on second downs as well. Anderson would provide a second option and some rest for their star running back.

The team has a decision to make coming into this offseason. They could look to the draft to shore up their running back depth, though it’s more likely they pick up a cost-efficient option like Anderson during free agency.