Sproles not a sure thing to return to San Diego

NFL_sproles1_250.jpgThe San Diego Chargers have a dilemma as to a running back not named LaDainian Tomlinson.

(For all the English majors out there, it’s actually a trilemma.)

The Chargers can sign Darren Sproles to a new deal, use the restricted free agency tender, or let him walk away via free agency.

Per a league source, the Chargers have given no indication to date as to their plans.

Because the Chargers used the franchise tag on Sproles last year, paying him $6.621 million for one season of football, application of any RFA tender above the lowest level that gives a right of first refusal with no compensation would require the Chargers to offer Sproles a guaranteed salary of $7.28 million.

And that’s arguably way too much for a part-time tailback and an above-average return man. 

Sproles rushed for 343 yards in 2009, and he churned up 497 yards receiving.  He returned 54 kickoffs for 24.1-yard average and 26 punts for a 7.0-yard average.  He generated eight total touchdowns.

Actually, those numbers are better the 2009 stats of another $7 million-plus running back.

Reggie Bush rushed for 390 yards, added 335 yards receiving, returned 27 punts for a 4.8-yard average, and also scored eight total touchdowns for the Saints.

So we’d be more inclined to pay $7.28 million to Sproles.  But the Chargers aren’t required to pay either — especially since the Chargers haven’t won a Super Bowl with Sproles, and none of the locals refer to him as “Jesus in Cleats.”

So what will the Chargers do?  Bob Matthews of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has an interesting proposal — the Bills should trade Marshawn Lynch to San Diego.

Though Lynch’s history might make him less attractive, his $885,000 salary for 2010 is roughly 10 percent of what it’ll take for the Chargers to guarantee that they’ll be keeping Sproles for another season.

In the end, don’t be shocked if they opt for the lowest-level RFA tender, which will cost only $1.2 million and will give the Chargers a right to match any offer made.  If so, look for Sproles and the union to go berserk if an interested suitor fails to use the Hutchinson/Burleson-style poison pill to come up with an offer that the Chargers wouldn’t match.

[Editor’s note:  A prior version of this item indicated that Sproles would be eligible for the franchise tag.  Since he has not completed six NFL seasons, Sproles would revert to restricted free agency for 2010.]

18 responses to “Sproles not a sure thing to return to San Diego

  1. Doesn’t anybody realize from a salary perspective it is way better to be a Reggie Bush than a Chris Johnson?
    How long will Johnson be runnin, maybe five years (after last year the curse of 370 will hit him anyway)?
    Bush may play 10 years, and will outdo Johnson salary wise.

  2. Lynch? he is a thug.
    if im SD, I would stay in the AFC East for my RB auditioning
    MIA Ronnie Brown
    NYJ Thomas Jones
    both are elite RBs, add an imidiate strength to the running game.
    Im a Miami Dolphins fan and love Ronnie Brown but i understand the business side of the game and Tuna & Co dont spend money in veteran players, they go hardcore draft and youth, so i dont like it but i know Brown would be available for a 3rd
    given the history between Miami and San Diego this could easily happen

  3. Lynch would fit right in. Heck he can go out partying with Jamal Williams and Vincent Jackson. Just don’t let VJ drive…

  4. Salaries are getting really crazy. How can anyone be worth nearly one million dollars a touchdown. Especially when a good many of them are criminals that desire to be in jail.

  5. Lynch would fit right in. Heck he can go out partying with Jamal Williams and Vincent Jackson. Just don’t let VJ drive…

  6. This is a problem for SD.
    They’ll have to address this via draft or trade.
    I like the M. Lynch option. Value there for under a mil

  7. Won’t Sproles be a restricted free agent without a new CBA? He only has five years under his belt. Can’t they keep him for like $2 or $3 million under a one year tender?
    Or are there special rules in that regard for players coming off a season that they played under the franchise tag?

  8. Bob Matthews article suggests that buffalo could get a second round pick for lynch. That is just crazy. Marshawn Lynch has talent(twice rushing for 1000 yards, former pro bowler) however, he is a huge risk, already on his second strike, he is a one year suspension waiting to happen.
    Not to mention that the move wont really make sense for the Bills. Sure they need all the picks they can get, but creating a hole on a roster already filled with so many holes for fill can’t be too exciting for a new head coach(unless your josh McDaniels)

  9. They’ll find some way to keep Sproles, I think. He’s looked good when Tomlinson was injured and he got the bulk of the carries.

  10. At that price for Sproles, they’d be better off getting LT to take less money and spend the downside of his career in SD (ala Bettis with the Steelers a few years back). Guys like Sproles are out there for Marshawn money, but without Marshawn’s baggage.

  11. I would sign Sproles to a multi-year deal. He doesn’t get many touches but when he does, something good usually happens. Furthermore, he’s the ideal RB to dump a short pass and have him take it to the house.
    If I was SD management, I would set my crosshairs on DeAngelo Williams. He’s in his final year of his contract and by all indications he’s a high character guy as well.
    Put Double Trouble to rest and get DW out west.

  12. Have they asked Marmalard’s opinion? Seems vogue nowadays for management to consult regular season warriors who don’t perform in the playoffs.

  13. Sounds good but he would have to cut his hair..
    Seriously, it’s not going to happen. A.J. builds through the draft (one reason why we don’t have a veteran LEADER especially on the defensive side). He says he doesn’t like to have players with “extra baggage” or off-field issues yet we have so many on the team. We’ll see… it’ll be interesting this off-season. Maybe he changes his style this year. ??

  14. Sproles is not a starter, therefore should not get starter money. I’d give him 2 million max. Time to draft a RB San Diego.

  15. I don’t think Reggie Bush is worth the $7 mill per season but he put up those stats in 2 fewer games than Sproles.

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