Yes, the Saints only got a fifth-round draft pick for running back Darren Sproles. But instead of calling the glass five-sevenths empty, the glass can be seen as two-sevenths full.
From Darrelle Revis to Steve Smith to Julius Peppers to Chris Johnson, teams who want to trade veteran players can’t make deals. The Saints, amid inaccurate reports that Sproles would be cut, found a market for Sproles.
And while it’s “only” a fifth-round pick, it’s still a fifth-round pick. In recent years, the Saints have acquired in round five or lower players like receiver Kenny Stills (fifth round, 2013), safety Corey White (fifth round, 2012), punter Thomas Morstead (fifth round, 2009), and guard Carl Nicks (fifth round 2008). In round seven, they found tackle Zach Strief and receiver Marques Colston in 2006.
It’s no surprise the Saints got value, even though the cat was out of the bag that Sproles was being cut. The Saints likely didn’t move on because Sproles’ contract pays too much. Instead, the Saints seem to be shifting their philosophy on offense, making Sproles a luxury they no longer need.
Unlike the Buccaneers and Panthers and Bears and Titans, the Saints got value for a guy they no longer needed. And if they can turn that fifth-round pick into a contributing player over the next four years and maybe beyond, they’ll be ahead of the game in the long run.