Photos of C. J. Spiller from the 2015 season. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saints photos)
Running back C.J. Spiller, the signature player of New Orleans' free agent signing class of 2015, was released Tuesday, Saints Coach Sean Payton confirmed in his Wednesday morning teleconference.
"We probably spent the better part of the last couple of weeks going through our depth at running back," Payton said.
Payton said the team sought a trade partner for Spiller, but that the injury to cornerback Delvin Breaux necessitated a move.
"(Spiller) is a phenomenal, phenomenal guy," Payton said. "I think he's going to have an opportunity sooner than later with another club, and yet I know the window with this club is not closed."
Payton said it became a challenge for the Saints in terms of active players on game day, and their roles.
Spiller's Saints career encompassed two starts in 13 games last season, with 36 carries for 112 yards and 34 receptions for 239 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard, game-winning score in overtime of a 26-20 victory over Dallas.
He was inactive for the '15 season opener due to recovery from an offseason knee injury, then was inactive in Week 16 against Jacksonville before being placed on injured reserve prior to the season finale against Atlanta. Also, he was inactive for the season opener against Oakland this season.
Spiller, a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) by Buffalo in 2010, had his most productive seasons with the Bills. As a rookie, he returned 44 kickoffs for 1,014 yards and a 95-yard touchdown and in 2012, he had 207 carries for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns, and caught 43 passes for 459 yards and two scores.
His release reduces to five the number of running backs on the Saints' 53-man roster as of today: Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower, Travaris Cadet, Marcus Murphy and Daniel Lasco.