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Chargers might be trying to keep the Colts from getting Sproles

DarrenSproles.jpgA year after the San Diego Chargers used the franchise tag on running back Darren Sproles, the Chargers will apply no restriction of any kind to the five-year veteran, allowing him to leave via free agency if he so chooses.

Adam Schefter of ESPN has the news of the Chargers’ decision in this regard.

The deeper question is whether the Chargers (or anyone else) realize that the team could have applied the low-level RFA tender, which would have given the team a right of first refusal as to any offer sheet signed by Sproles elsewhere.  Though some think that the Chargers could have retained Sproles’ rights only by tendering him an offer of nearly $7.3 million for one year (i.e., 110 percent of his 2009 salary), we set forth yesterday with nausea-inducing detail the union’s interpretation of the CBA regarding the ability to simply match any offer made to a restricted free agent.  As to Sproles, a right of first refusal could have been secured by the Chargers via a tender offer of only $1.226 million.

So why didn’t they do it?  We can come up with four possible explanations.

First, they simply don’t want him, at $1.226 million, $7.3 million, or any price.

Second, they don’t believe that the CBA permits the right of first refusal to be secured with a tender of only $1.226 million. 

Third, they don’t want to create a situation in which a team interested in Sproles would have to use the Hutchinson/Burleson-style poison pill or risk the NFLPA pitching a fit.

Fourth, maybe they want to keep Sproles from going to the Colts. 

Think about that one for a second.  Since Sproles is an unrestricted free agent, the Colts would be able to sign Sproles only if one of their two unrestricted free agents — linebacker Gary Brackett or kicker Matt Stover — sign with another team.  Even then, the Colts would be limited by the contract paid to Brackett or Stover by his new team.  But if the Chargers had tendered Sproles as a restricted free agent with no compensation, Sproles would have been fair game for the Colts or any of the other final four teams.

Given the damage Sproles did to the Colts in the 2008 playoffs, the Colts surely would be interested in getting him.  With the lowest level, no-compensation RFA tender, the Colts easily could have had him.  Now, they have to wait for Brackett to leave, and hope that Brackett’s new contract elsewhere is big enough to satisfy Sproles.

Even if it is, Sproles could be long gone before Brackett finds his next suitor.

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37 Responses to “Chargers might be trying to keep the Colts from getting Sproles”
  1. gregjennings says: Feb 26, 2010 3:34 PM

    Sporles is going to Green Bay.

  2. Fike Mlorio says: Feb 26, 2010 3:35 PM

    why would they go after sproles when they drafted a rb in the first round last year and also have addai

  3. cleanface says: Feb 26, 2010 3:39 PM

    “the Colts surely would be interested in signing him”. You’re just making things up, Florio. You have no idea if the Colts want to sign the guy. They have invested 2 of their last 4 1st rounders in RB’s and they hardly ever sign free agents. I think one could more rationally conclude that it would be a big surprise if the Colts went out and signed a well-known free agent.

  4. steelerer says: Feb 26, 2010 3:40 PM


  5. Ilovefoolsball says: Feb 26, 2010 3:42 PM

    So the Chargers are going to get rid of their two best RB’s in one offseason? Brilliant!

  6. New Calfornia Stadiums says: Feb 26, 2010 3:48 PM

    Shows that running backs are a dime a dozen in the NFL.

  7. Zoology says: Feb 26, 2010 3:49 PM


  8. jvn says: Feb 26, 2010 3:50 PM

    dont do it sproles… it would never happen anyways

  9. shaslers says: Feb 26, 2010 3:54 PM

    I thought if the player becomes an UFA because he’s cut, the Rule of Eight doesn’t apply. At least that is the way this very site seemed to report it.
    If that’s the case there are no restrictions on the Colts going after Sproles, right?

  10. 4ever19 says: Feb 26, 2010 3:57 PM

    Interesting thoughts here. The question is, would the Colts really want him? Could he be the kind of running back the Colts use? Our backs have to be able to block (i.e., pick up the blitz) and get out into pass patterns. In 5 years, he has just 87 receptions (along with 199 carries). He may not be what the Colts need – unlike, say, Chester Taylor.

  11. Gautam says: Feb 26, 2010 3:58 PM

    Brackett vs Sproles
    defensive captain vs 3rd down back
    wow what a conundrum for Bill Polian!

  12. sdffa11 says: Feb 26, 2010 4:00 PM

    sproles speed and peytons accuracy is scary

  13. AJ says: Feb 26, 2010 4:01 PM

    What basis do you have for any of this?? This is classic sensationalism … Why? Because there is nothing else going on?
    Colts have 4 RB’s …and while yes they do need a returner why would they want to pay a specialty guy that much?? Also they don’t want rid of Brackett… They want to keep there QB on D…
    I’m Colts fan and would love to have Sproles but its not even remotely logical…. Stupid article…or at least stupid heading…

  14. AJ says: Feb 26, 2010 4:05 PM

    He just makes stuff up doesn’t he…

  15. steelerer says: Feb 26, 2010 4:07 PM

    shaslers says:
    February 26, 2010 3:54 PM
    I thought if the player becomes an UFA because he’s cut, the Rule of Eight doesn’t apply. At least that is the way this very site seemed to report it.
    If that’s the case there are no restrictions on the Colts going after Sproles, right?
    their not cutting him, the chargers are just not resigning him or tendering him.

  16. Mike_in_Texas says: Feb 26, 2010 4:09 PM

    The 13game winning streak will be broken now.. The Raiders will defeat the Chargers and win the AFC West in 2010.
    2009 – MNF SD escaped with the win in oakland with 00:06 sec left.
    2008 – SD again escaped with the win in oakland after trailing 16-3 at halftime. LT scoring 2Tds in 5minutes to bypass the Raiders barely.
    Both came with Russell at QB.
    2010 will be different with no LT anymore..
    Sproles was never a threath anyways..

  17. Filbertkiwi71 says: Feb 26, 2010 4:17 PM

    # Ilovefoolsball says: February 26, 2010 3:42 PM
    “So the Chargers are going to get rid of their two best RB’s in one offseason? Brilliant!”
    You mean the two overpaid runningbacks that made a boatload of cash and managed to lead the Chargers to the 31st ranked rushing attack?
    What the Chargers are doing makes perfect sense. Sproles isn’t an every down back, and there is no way that he is worth 7 million dollars.

  18. Byrd Is The Word says: Feb 26, 2010 4:18 PM

    Pure speculation at it’s finest.

  19. 5150cd says: Feb 26, 2010 4:19 PM

    When was the last time the Colts signed an established good player through free agency?
    Answer: Florio is bored.

  20. anthony says: Feb 26, 2010 4:25 PM

    Good! Let go all your good players Chargers.. The Raiders are going to kill the WEST in 2010, LT & Sproles?…
    Who’s next Gates?… The Chargers have been the worst Franchise since I’ve been old enough to know football.
    They never keep their best players, Merriman is next out the door and I just heard Cromorti is being delt?!.. And V. Jackson is bout to do some Jail time WOW!!
    If the RAIDERS get Vick and maybe Owens for a year we can eaisly WIN the west nxt year..

  21. encinitasraider says: Feb 26, 2010 4:35 PM

    just heard mini-me(A.K.A.)Sproles signed with the Raiders.

  22. recent says: Feb 26, 2010 4:37 PM

    I can only retain so much of the technical final 8 vs final 4 stuff, but with the Chargers as a final 8 team, wouldn’t letting him go to allow them to be more active in FA?

  23. Bob Sacamano says: Feb 26, 2010 4:39 PM

    Who’s ass did you pull this out of?

  24. cs_foodie says: Feb 26, 2010 4:48 PM

    man, who knows what the Chargers will look like next year?

  25. pdxbolt4life says: Feb 26, 2010 4:54 PM

    anthony says:
    If the RAIDERS get Vick and maybe Owens for a year we can eaisly WIN the west nxt year..
    Keep telling yourself that.

  26. Cougar Bait says: Feb 26, 2010 5:04 PM

    This story really seems to be grasping at straws.
    Great concept, but as mentioned several times already, Colts have drafted Addai and Brown. Problem isn’t the RB’s, it’s the suspect run blocking (although Addai was solid in AFC title game and Super Bowl). Colts only need the running game to be effective enough to set up the play action, and they typically don’t shop free agents.
    I like the idea (especially for the dreadful return game), but it’s not happening. Just re-sign Brackett.

  27. ar1888 says: Feb 26, 2010 5:24 PM

    Your really reaching for something to write about.

  28. OntBoltFan says: Feb 26, 2010 5:49 PM

    The SD websites are all saying they have to offer Sproles 10% x the transition tag from last year as he was restricted last year. He isn’t just becoming a RFA this year. I don’t think you can reduce his tender to 1.2 M after you paid him 6.6M the year before.
    The capologists and GMs know more about the CBA then Adam Schefter so don’t get too excited about this.

  29. Nick says: Feb 26, 2010 5:57 PM

    Eagles need him to take Westbrooks spot.

  30. Staxxx says: Feb 26, 2010 6:04 PM

    RE: Anthony……
    As long as JabustaRussell is QB the Chargers don’t need a offense to beat the Raiders.The “Chosen1” will forget to wipe the grease off his fingers and fumble away any chance of the Raiders winning. Hell even Tiki and AD think Bustell has a fumbling problem.

  31. Erdie says: Feb 26, 2010 6:12 PM

    Won’t happen. Polian does not pay big money for RB’s and sproles will want a “franchise back” salary a la Michael Turner. They already drafted how many RB’s last two years getting ready to replace Addai? If they want to improve their running game then they need to improve their O-line. Check for the details.

  32. IndyWilson says: Feb 26, 2010 6:14 PM

    Hey Florio, Bill Polian is not as simple minded as you are. Just because Sproles had a couple of good games against the Colts certainly does not mean that Polian is interested. I’m sure Polian is more interested in what Sproles did against the rest of the league, which is not much.

  33. Shawn says: Feb 26, 2010 6:49 PM

    My opinion is that he might sign with the Eagles(I’m a Steelers fan). They dropped Westbrook and Sproles is a younger, yet smaller version of westbrook. He does better receiving than rushing so any team that signs him will use him for that and of course special teams. I hope the Steelers sign him and use him for kick off/punt returns, they could use his talent.

  34. Tyler says: Feb 26, 2010 7:28 PM

    Florio has brain damage. The Colts don’t want Sproles, at least not for a price, they refused to give Edge. Also, when the RFAs are not tendered, they become UFAs, and if they sign with others, the Colts can sign players too.

  35. Hodog16 says: Feb 26, 2010 7:46 PM

    Colts would only be interested in Sproles so they wouldn’t have to face him. Sproles absolutely torched Indy in the 2007 and 2008 playoffs.
    All the Raiders fans hating on the Chargers need to look at the details: 31st ranked rushing offense but highest paid tandem. Get rid of the players and free up money for a new stable. Meanwhile the passing offense so far remains intact.
    Whether they do anything in the playoffs remains to be seen, but I don’t see how the Chargers won’t take the West next season. KC is still rebuilding, Denver always collapses, and the Raiders can only beat teams from the AFC North.

  36. phillyeagleschamps says: Feb 26, 2010 7:53 PM

    The Fire sale continues for the Los Angeles Chargers.

  37. usane bolt says: Feb 26, 2010 9:45 PM

    So the chargers lost their two best rb’s. and everyone is all worried about that. He,he.
    After the draft you folks are gonna be shetting your pants with the new backfield the chargers will have. he, he.

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