But maybe he shouldn’t.
With a guaranteed base salary of $1.7 million, Spiller will be working for free unless someone pays him more than $100,000 per week for each remaining week of the season. Given the health risks and overall wear and tear that comes from playing tailback in the NFL, Spiller’s best move could be to take the money from New Orleans and spend the next several months working out and preparing for 2017.
Even if he’s inclined to play, Spiller should wait to see which teams emerge as contenders — and whether a contender loses a tailback to a significant injury. Depending on how things play out, Spiller could leverage an offer that would exceed $100,000 per week.
Meanwhile, some remain surprised by Spiller’s departure from New Orleans. On Wednesday, coach Sean Payton addressed the decision with reporters.
“It didn’t have to be done by the first game of the season,” Payton said. “His salary was guaranteed. This was more about, ‘Is there a potential trade partner?’ Obviously, the urgency changed with the injury of Delvin Breaux. [Spiller is] a phenomenal guy/teammate. We spent about a half hour just he and I talking yesterday. I think he’s going to have an opportunity sooner than later with another club and yet the window in this building or this club’s not definitely closed.”
Still, Spiller can get $1.6 million for doing nothing over the next 16 weeks. Any decision to play should be based on getting more than that — or getting a chance to showcase his skills in the postseason, when 20 and more teams are home watching what he can do.
It’s unknown what teams would want him to do. Payton specifically referred to Spiller’s skills as a kick returner, but Payton said Spiller’s inability to make an offensive impact was unrelated to his ability to master the team’s offense. One source with knowledge of the situation, however, tells PFT that Spiller struggled at times with the New Orleans playbook and scheme.
The Jets make sense, because Spiller thrived in Buffalo when Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey served as head coach there. Although Gailey was interested in Spiller when he became a free agent in 2015, a league source tells PFT that Jets G.M. Mike Maccagnan wasn’t interested in pursuing Spiller.
That said, a rash of injuries can change everything, for the Jets and any other team.