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Conflicting Reports Surround Darren Sproles' Status with New Orleans Saints

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Conflicting Reports Surround Darren Sproles' Status with New Orleans Saints
USA Today

Updates from Thursday, March 13

The Redskins are interested in trading for Darren Sproles, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:

 

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:

After Sproles tweeted out his goodbye on Friday, it appears the Saints have potentially changed their mind.

Sproles also reacted to the latest report: 

Original Text

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.

Sproles confirmed his departure via Twitter:

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:

Rapoport breaks down the potential financial implications of releasing Sproles, and points out that he might not be the last to go this offseason:

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: 

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.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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