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Broncos release C.J. Anderson, who credited 49ers executive Adam Peters for landing there

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The 49ers could use some more running back depth, but they might look primarily to the draft.

The Denver Broncos made a move on Monday that has long been expected. The team released running back C.J. Anderson after spending the offseason attempting to trade him, according to all the national media. The Broncos will clear $4.5 million in cap space and carry no dead money following the release.

There is some chatter this opens the door for the Broncos to draft Penn State running back Saquon Barkley if he is available when their No. 5 pick comes up. Given that the Broncos have been working to move Anderson for a while, I don’t see this changing things all that much. The team could still want Barkley, but they could also be prepared to move forward with Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson, and potentially add a running back later in the draft.

Anderson is coming off the first 1,000 yard season of his career, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and finishing with 1,007 yards rushing. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry in each of 2014 and 2015 before injuries cost him much of 2016. He bounced back in 2017, and seems likely to get a decent opportunity somewhere else.

A little over a year ago, the John Lynch hired Adam Peters to join him in the San Francisco 49ers as Vice President of Player Personnel. At the time, Anderson tweeted a note of thanks to Peters. He said that Peters was the reason Anderson was in Denver. The Broncos signed Anderson as an undrafted free agent out of Cal in 2013 and after a quiet rookie season, burst on the scene in 2014.

The 49ers will be looking for depth to compete at running back, but do they do this through the draft, or add some veteran depth? Right now, Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida, and Joe Williams are at the top of the depth chart. Jeremy McNichols and Raheem Mostert will compete for opportunities as well. But amidst all this, McKinnon is the only running back on the roster with significant backfield experience beyond his rookie year. Does it make sense to add another veteran, or would the team be better off just trying to find more young talent?

This isn’t to say they’ll pursue Anderson, or that he’ll even want to sign there given the addition of McKinnon. But, given his history with Peters, maybe a call is placed.