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New Orleans Saints: C.J. Spiller fighting for roster spot

By
Alex Butler
New Orleans Saints running back C.J. Spiller (28) goes 9 yards before Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Avery Williamson (54) can push him out of bounds during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans November 8, 2015. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI
New Orleans Saints running back C.J. Spiller (28) goes 9 yards before Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Avery Williamson (54) can push him out of bounds during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans November 8, 2015. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo

NEW ORLEANS, July 26 (UPI) -- As NFL teams prepare for training camp this week, young and old players alike will be competing for roster spots.

C.J. Spiller, 28, is just below the dreaded age for running backs, but that doesn't men he's a lock to make the New Orleans Saints roster. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, he could be traded or cut.

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"This is actually a tricky position group," the Times-Picayune reported. "I'm not so sure Spiller's future with the Saints is safe. I could honestly see the Saints trying to trade Spiller or outright cutting him by the end of training camp."

The Saints' stable includes Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower, Spiller, Travaris Cadet, and Marcus Murphy. Ingram, 26, rushed for 769 yards and six scores in 2015. He also had 405 receiving yards on 50 receptions in 12 games.

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Spiller signed a four-year, $16 million contract in March of 2015. He is due $1.7 million, with a $1.55 million roster bonus due in March this season. He had arthroscopic knee surgery last August. All of Spiller's money this season is fully guaranteed.

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Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune reported last month that it was "pretty apparent" Spiller is behind Hightower on the depth chart. Saints coach Sean Payton told ESPN that Spiller looks "noticeably different" this offseason.

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"His health and movement skills look noticeably different," Payton told Mike Triplett. "He worked his butt off in the offseason to get the strength back in that knee. That's been really encouraging."

The Saints report to training camp Wednesday. Spiller hasn't played a full season since 2012, with the Buffalo Bills. Last season he had 36 carries for 112 yards and no scores on the ground. He had 34 receptions for 239 yards and two receiving touchdowns in 13 games last season.

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