Will Darren Sproles Be Pursued by Washington Redskins?

Adam HankinsCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Running back Darren Sproles #43 of the San Diego Chargers runs with the ball during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New York Jets at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Surprising news has come out of San Diego that the Chargers are not going to tender a contract for running Darren Sproles.


Instead, they will allow him to test the waters of the free-agent market.


The reason this is surprising is that the news comes soon after the team released longtime running back LaDainian Tomlinson.


While the Chargers were scheduled to take a high salary hit for tendering Sproles, it seems strange without any other viable options at running back.


As perennial contenders in the free-agent market, the Redskins might take a hard look at Sproles. Of course, Sproles is expected to garner a lot of attention from several other teams as well. The real question is whether or not he would make sense for the Redskins.


Many people believe Clinton Portis' productive years are now behind him. Portis is a high-mileage back who may no longer be capable of being a team's workhorse. With all of the turmoil surrounding him, as well as Mike Shanahan's unwillingness to tolerate players who are not team-oriented, Portis may be gone.


Sproles, while only averaging 3.7 yards per carry last year, still has enough speed to be a featured back in the right offense. With Shanahan's zone blocking schemes, Sproles could thrive in the new Washington system. In addition, he could also function well in a return capacity, especially on punts.


The Redskins definitely need help at running back, whether one is gained with a free agent like Sproles or through using a selection in the upcoming draft. While the competition for Sproles' services is expected to be fierce, the Redskins would have no trouble picking up the tab in an uncapped year.


Darren Sproles is intriguing, but San Diego's willingness to let him go is somewhat concerning. Do the Chargers have inside information about Sproles that leads them to believe he can't be an every-down back? Possibly, but it won't stop a bidding war for the running back when free agency opens.