A couple of months ago I mentioned the idea of the Eagles moving away from running back Darren Sproles this off season. As you can imagine it was very ill received. Which you can not blame people having a bitterness to the idea of another Pro Bowl caliber player being shipped out of Philadelphia. However, one season after seeing Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy wearing a different jersey, the Eagles find themselves with that idea floating around once again.
Many people assumed that Celek was likely to fall this off season as a cap casualty, which made sense because of his age, price tag and big contract that was dealt to TE Zach Ertz. Instead the Eagles rewarded the long tenured Eagles with an extension that keeps him in midnight green until 2018 and helped free up a little cap space for this year.
Darren Sproles falls into very similar categories as he set to turn 33 before the season starts and is also chalked up to receive $4.5 million this year from the Eagles.
The age can be overlooked because Sproles hasn’t shown any big losses in speed or overall ability. But what has changed is his role on the team in general. His cap hit would not be major deal if he was simply a complimentary back in the second runner position. The facts are, he is not. Sproles will be listed on the depth chart behind both Murray and Mathews, making him a situational running back and that does not pair up well with money he is being paid.
Even as a situational back people still address his ability to catch passes out of the backfield as an asset. I will not discredit this one bit, but I can say that DeMarco Murray is just as capable. I am a firm believer in the “don’t pay two people to do a job one person can do” philosophy.
Receiving stats for 2015:
83 Atts 55 CPs 388 yds 7.1 YPC 1 TD
55 Atts 44 CPs 322 yds 7.3 YPC 1 TD#EaglesNation
— Greg S. Kennedy (@GregSKennedy) January 15, 2016
The first rebuttal that I usually hear is “If you are saying he is this good, then why would you get rid of him?”. I get it, Sproles is a fan favorite and great life story of a guy who shut up a lot of doubters to get where he is at. It is very hard not to love the guy, but at the end of the day the NFL is a business. With the deals that were made with Murray and Matthews it eliminates the need to over pay the third string running back. Especially after Kenjon Barner had the preseason he did, followed by showing he is a serviceable back up against New England. And yes, Sproles is an absolute weapon as a return man, but again you can not over pay for a player just to be a return specialist. Not with players like Barner and Agholor on the roster.
A luxury that the Eagles have is that Sproles still has value as an NFL player and they are holding all the cards. Because of that I believe it would not be hard to find a trade partner willing to give up a mid round pick to take Sproles off our hands.
Will he be traded or will the Eagles just be OK with overpaying that position for another year? No one knows right now. Does a trade make sense? Yes.
At the end of the day it would free up $3.5 million off this years cap and give the Eagles another pick to help build towards the future. This is a tough decision that will have to be made in the very near future by the Eagles front office.
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