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Chargers change their minds on Sproles

NFL_sproles.jpgLast week, the Chargers decided not to issue any restricted free agency tender to running back Darren Sproles.  We’d been told that they opted not to even use the low-level “right of first refusal” tender because they feared owing him 110 percent of his 2009 franchise player salary.

But now they’ve changed their minds.  Instead of going with the lowest level, however, they’ve decided to push the offer to the other end of the spectrum.

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Chargers have applied the highest tender to Sproles, guaranteeing them a first-round and third-round pick if he leaves, and guaranteeing Sproles nearly $7.3 million in salary for 2010.

Sproles reportedly was scheduled to visit the Chiefs, Rams, Eagles, and Redskins — an amazing itinerary given that the mere lining up of visits before midnight on the first day of free agency constitutes tampering per se.

The Chargers could still trade him, but whoever gets him will be dealing with contractual demands premised on first-year compensation of $7.27 million.

The move also could jack up the market for the various running backs who are and soon will be available, especially since the Chargers are paying so much money for a return specialist and a third-down tailback.  Then again, maybe the Chargers have decided to use Sproles like the Jaguars used Maurice Jones-Drew after Fred Taylor left, as a guy who is on the field more often — and who gets more opportunities to make things happen.
 
Regardless of the manner in which the uncapped year unfolds, the Chargers already have scored a major coup.  In a capped year, they would have had five key unrestricted free agents whom they would have had to sign to new deals or let walk away:  Sproles, linebacker Shawne Merriman, left tackle Marcus McNeill, receiver Vincent Jackson, receiver Malcom Floyd.  The franchise tag would have been available for only one of them. 

In an uncapped year, the Chargers are able to keep them all, at a total payout of less than $20 million.

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21 Responses to “Chargers change their minds on Sproles”
  1. Erdie says: Mar 4, 2010 3:42 PM

    Those last two paragraphs are why the union needs to get a salary cap back, even if they have to take less of the pie. There is still plenty of money to be made by all, but significantly more if you are a UFA versus an RFA.

  2. Veritas Amber says: Mar 4, 2010 3:46 PM

    Heh, sucks to be Sproles… this means a lot of teams will move elsewhere cause a 1st and 3rd, no way, Sproles isn’t worth more than a 2nd Rounder.

  3. Peoples Champ says: Mar 4, 2010 3:47 PM

    “an amazing itinerary given that the mere lining up of visits before midnight on the first day of free agency constitutes tampering per se.”
    The word tampering needs to be abolished from the NFL. It’s just a stupid thing. The charges are absolutely ridiculous. You just had to satisfy your obsession for using that word, huh Florio?

  4. JakeDSnake says: Mar 4, 2010 3:48 PM

    Seriously now, does A.J. Smith sit around all day thinking of ways to alienate his team’s players? One conference championship loss and a gaggle of players who wouldn’t pee on him if he were on fire.
    …if he were not on fire, however…

  5. Drew Brees' Face Smudge says: Mar 4, 2010 3:48 PM

    Money doesnt match production but he can change the pace of a game in one play. He’s exciting and maybe now he’ll get a chance to be more than just situational.
    I’m sure Ego Smith thought Sproles would sign with SD after he made a few pit stops. But after hearing he was gonna visit the Skins he knew he couldnt match any offer they made.
    You know, if any player truly wants to stay with their current team and get paid but not totally break the bank all they have to do is say they have a visit planned with Dan Snyder. That usually moves GM’s to look a little deeper into their owners pockets…

  6. snnyjcbs says: Mar 4, 2010 3:52 PM

    What are they thinking?, 20 million tied up in 5 players? Not a Pro Bowler among them.
    Kind of makes the Raiders tying up 7 million in 4 players that include a Pro Bowl Punter, a Pro Bowl long snapper, a Pro Bowl Kicker and a top special teams player look like a bargin.

  7. milehiclown says: Mar 4, 2010 3:54 PM

    Wha? Twenty mill for players that don’t help you win anything but a first-round playoff loss?
    That is a good deal…how?

  8. schooney says: Mar 4, 2010 3:54 PM

    Sproles can now give Jerry money for his next leather face job

  9. jollyrob68 says: Mar 4, 2010 3:55 PM

    People keep talking about tampering. I thought it was OK to talk to teams and findout a ball park figure but you couldn’t put anything down on paper. People need to stop with all the tampering BS. If a player is unrestricted then let the see what they’re worth.

  10. BigRan-the-EagleFan says: Mar 4, 2010 3:56 PM

    yup eagles walk away walk away fast

  11. brian forster says: Mar 4, 2010 4:00 PM

    thank god, as good as he is i didn’t want him on the skins.. this virtually guarantees it.
    however, it does mean that the chances of the skins signing peppers or dansby just increased, you know they are going to make at least 1 big free agent splash.

  12. Mr. Beefhead says: Mar 4, 2010 4:02 PM

    I hope the Jets have a change of heart too on TJ too. They’re pissing people off more than anything else. Paying $5 mil is worth it to get TJ’s last year and watch him bust his ass in a contract year.

  13. Pearl Jam Rocks says: Mar 4, 2010 4:02 PM

    7.27 for 1 season for darren sporoles is a joke. He should maybe make that in 2yrs but in a season thats whats wrong with the nfl. Mediccore players are gettn paid like the elite.

  14. Marv_Sleezy says: Mar 4, 2010 4:08 PM

    I guarantee you Sproles is well on his way to being passed out drunk and happy somewhere right now

  15. boltfanfromwv says: Mar 4, 2010 4:15 PM

    I’d rather give Sproles that money than watch him run wild on the Chargers in a Chiefs jersey. Good play by Sproles agent to get the Chiefs in the mix. That alone could’ve changed the Chargers’ mind. That’s an agent earning his money right there…
    As for Jamal, that sucks! Age and injury concerns finally caught up with him. The team had to fear his knees were running on empty.

  16. Tdk24 says: Mar 4, 2010 4:15 PM

    Wow, what a score for Sproles!

  17. Big Daddy_71 says: Mar 4, 2010 4:17 PM

    snnyjcbs -
    “not a pro bowler among them”???????
    are you high? really… not one of them is a pro-bowler???
    look, if you are trying to justify Crazy ALice spending gobloads on ST players then fine…
    but how can you compare that to what the Chargers did?

  18. Drew Brees' Face Smudge says: Mar 4, 2010 4:20 PM

    # snnyjcbs says: March 4, 2010 3:52 PM
    What are they thinking?, 20 million tied up in 5 players? Not a Pro Bowler among them.
    Kind of makes the Raiders tying up 7 million in 4 players that include a Pro Bowl Punter, a Pro Bowl long snapper, a Pro Bowl Kicker and a top special teams player look like a bargin.
    —————————————————————
    Merriman 2 pro bowls, McNeill 2 pro bowls, Jackson 1 pro bowl.
    Dont care, just saying…

  19. karmathaitch says: Mar 4, 2010 4:28 PM

    First off, Janikowski is the raiders leading scorer, so paying high for him makes sense. Jrock on the other hand…….
    A.J. just doesnt want the Colts to get there hands on him. Thats the only reason i can think of, cuz thats alot of dough fo Sproles!!

  20. oraph says: Mar 4, 2010 4:57 PM

    damn.. i was hoping skins would pick him up. He’d be a grat change of pace option with portis. SD basically made sure that no one will realistically pick this guy up.

  21. NfcLeast says: Mar 6, 2010 9:00 PM

    test

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