In recent years, the Chiefs have had some success taking low-risk fliers on versatile running backs.
On Friday, the decided to take a chance on another, as the club announced the signing of former first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller.
Spiller, 29, joins Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West, Jamaal Charles and Darrin Reaves as running backs currently under contract for 2017. All except Charles, a third-round pick in 2008, were signed as inexpensive free agents.
The cap-starved Chiefs could still create $6.87 million in cap room by releasing Charles, who only logged 14 touches in a second-consecutive injury-shortened season. But they do not necessarily have to make a corresponding roster move to sign Spiller, as there are no roster limits at this time of the year.
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Spiller, a speedy do-it-all dynamo at Clemson, once ran a blistering 4.37-second 40-yard dash leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft, where he was selected ninth overall by the Buffalo Bills.
In five years with the Bills, he rushed 668 times for 3,321 yards — an average of 5 yards per carry — and 12 touchdowns.
His best season as a pro came in 2012, when he rushed for a career-high 1,244 yards, caught 43 passes for 459 yards and made the Pro Bowl for the only time in his career.
After an injury-shortened 2014 season, he signed a four-year, $18 million contract with the New Orleans Saints. He had a knee injury in training camp and appeared in 13 games, starting two, rushing 36 times for 112 yards and catching 34 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns.
Spiller made the Saints out of training camp last season, but did not appear in the season opener after a trio of younger, cheaper backs — Tim Hightower, Travaris Cadet and Daniel Lasco — took the backup spots behind starter Mark Ingram.
This led to Spiller’s release shortly after the season opener against the Raiders, after which Saints coach Sean Payton reportedly called Spiller a “phenomenal guy” and “good teammate.”
Spiller was scooped up a few weeks later by Seattle, where he carried the ball three times for 9 yards and caught five passes for 43 yards in two games before his release in late October.
A week later, he latched on with the New York Jets and rushed three times for 9 yards and caught a pass for 7 yards in four games before his release in early December.