Updates from Thursday, March 13
One team making a push to trade for Saints RB Darren Sproles: the Washington Redskins. Sproles would be dynamic in Washington's backfield.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, Mar. 12
Josina Anderson of ESPN talked to Darren Sproles, who talked about his status with the Saints:
"I want to get released. I don't want to be traded. I don't know where they would send me because I have no control over it and I want to be able to pick. The good thing is none of the teams I'm told they're talking to are terrible. It's more than two. I feel I should have more of an idea later on today.
Updates from Tuesday, Mar. 11
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that not only have the New Orleans Saints yet to cut Darren Sproles, they might attempt to trade him:
Saints still haven’t released RB Darren Sproles and now plan to trade him due to heavy interest, per ESPN source. Not being released, though— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
After Sproles tweeted out his goodbye on Friday, it appears the Saints have potentially changed their mind.
Sproles also reacted to the latest report:
WOW! "@ESPNNFL: THIS JUST IN: Saints now plan to trade RB Darren Sproles due to heavy interest. He will not be released.— Darren Sproles (@DarrenSproles) March 11, 2014
The stuff u find out on twitter— Darren Sproles (@DarrenSproles) March 11, 2014
In an effort to free up cap space ahead of the March 11 deadline, the New Orleans Saints are reportedly set to part ways with veteran running back and return man Darren Sproles.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport was the first to report that Sproles was expected to be released.
The #Saints are cutting RB Darren Sproles, per source.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2014
Sproles confirmed his departure via Twitter:
Thank you New Orleans for your support over the past 3 years! I will always be forever grateful. #WhoDat— Darren Sproles (@DarrenSproles) March 8, 2014
Tight end Jimmy Graham didn't single out the Sproles news specifically, but he sounded off on his feelings in general on the offseason thus far:
Wow unbelievable. Shocked and disappointed on everything that's gone on this offseason.— Jimmy Graham (@TheJimmyGraham) March 8, 2014
Rapoport breaks down the potential financial implications of releasing Sproles, and points out that he might not be the last to go this offseason:
Releasing #Saints RB Darren Sproles saves$3.5M & continues the house cleaning of sorts on offense. Lance Moore cut, Pierre Thomas in danger— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2014
Sproles has spent the past three seasons with the Saints, recording a career-high 603 rushing yards and 710 receiving yards in 2011. However, since his breakout performance in his first year with New Orleans, the Kansas State product has seen a significant drop-off in production.
He rushed for only 220 yards and two touchdowns in 2013 and his 4.2 yards per carry average was his lowest since 2009 with the San Diego Chargers.
Rotoworld senior football editor Evan Silva sheds some light on what the decision to go in a different direction could mean for the Saints in the future:
Think Sproles' release is first step as #Saints Payton revises what he wants from backfield. Expect to see lots more Khiry Robinson in '14.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) March 7, 2014
Khiry Robinson carried the ball 54 times for 224 yards and a touchdown last season and racked up 60 total yards and a touchdown on 14 touches in New Orleans' NFC divisional playoff loss at Seattle in January.
Still, Robinson is headed into his second year in the league and remains a wild card.
Although it remains to be seen what the Saints will actually do with Sproles this offseason and what direction they'll take at running back in 2014, it appears that their plans don't include the shifty veteran, who's set to deliver a $4.25 million cap hit in 2014 if he sticks around, according to Spotrac.com.
From a financial standpoint, parting ways with Sproles makes perfect sense. However, for a team that ranked 25th in the league in rushing yards last season, New Orleans will be taking a big risk by getting rid of an experienced backfield playmaker and dangerous special teams star.
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