If you're a San Diego Chargers fan, you know the struggles of running back Darren Sproles.
For those of you who aren't, here's a brief rundown.
At the end of last season, the Chargers failed to reach an agreement on a long-term deal for the electrifying return man and backfield threat known affectionately as the Lightning Bug. Naturally, then, the Chargers placed the franchise tag on him, hoping that they could pick up the negotiations after the season ended.
2010 was not kind to Sproles. He was ineffective as a runner and return man, had some crucial fumbles, and was even taken off the punt return unit because of his special teams play.
Now, with their season officially over, the Chargers are entertaining the possibility of letting Sproles go to free agency.
What a reversal.
With his release into the wild as a total possibility, let's take a look at 10 places where Sproles could land next year.
As much as Seahawks fans may want him to be, Marshawn Lynch isn't the answer to fixing their all-but-dead running game.
Seattle desperately needs a proven difference maker, so Darren Sproles will seem like the hot commodity to them this offseason.
With his proven versatility as a running threat, passing threat and return threat, he would fit perfectly with the Seahawks.
The chances aren't great, but the Broncos could really use him.
As a return threat, Sproles would have the chance to make a big difference on a special teams unit that could use the spark, and as a runner, Sproles would do well as a backup for Knowshon Moreno.
If he can come at a low enough price, Denver could certainly make a play for him.
This is more an attempt to break down a team's psychology more than anything else.
No matter what the Colts do, it seems like they end up near the bottom of the league in rushing year after year, and it doesn't make much sense.
Sure, when you have Peyton Manning, why would you want to run the ball? But on the other side of things, look at the New England Patriots. They have Tom Brady, yet they still managed to find balance in the running game this year.
It seems totally within the realm of possibility that the Colts attempt to remedy their rushing woes by going after the player that has given them so much trouble in the past.
The Colts are intimately familiar with what Darren Sproles is capable of, and would be eager to turn that against the rest of the league.
With Ricky Williams on his way out sometime soon and Ronnie Brown underperforming, the assumption is that the Miami Dolphins will pursue a running back in April's NFL draft.
Why do that when you could simply pick one up in the free agent market?
Darren Sproles seems like he would fit well in the Dolphins offense and while he can't throw the ball, he is still a multi-threat back, which makes him a weapon that any team would want to use.
It seems like something short-circuited in the Jets running game this year, because while it has been effective, it certainly hasn't had the same effect on teams that it had last year.
LaDainian Tomlinson likely won't be with the Jets for long, so they'll need someone to at least back up Shonn Greene, if not compete for the top job. What better player than Darren Sproles?
Besides, the 'reunion of Chargers running backs' storyline is just too good.
Look at me, picking on the NFC West once again.
Well, let's be honest, they sort of deserve it.
That's neither here nor there though.
Injury concerns continue to pick up for Steven Jackson, and the Rams would do well to look at Darren Sproles as the guy to fill a backup role. He would create a great one-two punch with the bruising style of Jackson.
A lot of people in Washington have been pointing at Donovan McNabb and shouting, "See! We need a quarterback!"
First off, let me assure you that you don't need a quarterback. What you need is offensive talent.
While talent at wide receiver is certainly a top concern, so is talent at running back. The top rusher for the Redskins in 2010 was former Denver running back Ryan Torain, who posted a meager 742 yards in the Redskins' 30th-ranked rushing offense.
Sproles brings a versatility to a running game that can really open things up. The Redskins would be making a big mistake if they didn't at least give him a look.
The Cowboys may have started to get things back on track under the direction of new head coach Jason Garrett, but there is still no denying that their running game appears to be on the way down.
It's probably a long shot to happen, but the Cowboys should nonetheless give Darren Sproles a look. At the very least, he can work as a change-of-pace back.
The Panthers were ravaged by injury this season, especially at the running back position. With star running back DeAngelo Williams on IR and Jonathan Stewart dealing with injuries, the Panthers really didn't have anyone to go to.
Darren Sproles would provide much-needed depth for the Panthers, considering that they should be wary of another year like this one.
Wait a minute, wait a minute, didn't I say that Darren Sproles would be going somewhere else?
I said it was possible, but not certain.
There is absolutely a chance that he remains a Charger, and here's why:
- History: Sproles has a history of success with the Chargers, and they would like to see if he can still continue that in San Diego.
- Money: The breaking point is obviously money-related, but Sproles isn't in a position to be asking for $5-7 million a year. If the Chargers can keep him on the cheap, why not?
So there you have it. After all of that, the most likely landing spot for Darren Sproles is probably his current team, the San Diego Chargers.
Who would've thought?