Sound Off: What Should The Chargers Do With Darren Sproles?

Darren Sproles has become an electric player who has earned respect league-wide, and yet as a restricted free agent, his future in sunny San Diego is cloudy at best. While the Chargers have yet to make any significant offseason transactions, their decision on Sproles will be one of the most important moves they make this year. If you were the General Manager, how would you proceed?

Among the Chargers options are:

* Place the highest tender on Sproles and keep him around for one more season. (Highest tender would be a first and third round pick and a 3+ million dollar salary)

* Trade Sproles at a time where his value is at an all-time high. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but Sproles would be considered a RFA and can be traded, right?)

* Sign Sproles to a long-term contract and keep him here in San Diego

* Place a low tender on Sproles and hope someone signs him away so that compensatory draft picks are awarded. (I consider this an extremely unlikely proposition for the team)

Vote and comment below!

February 9, 2010

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arnie said... Feb 9, 2010, 9:03:00 PM

i wish i had an answer for this, but how do you even consider signing a running back, when you can't run the ball? on that note, AJ smith DOES NOT TRADE PLAYERS, period.

* Place a low tender on Sproles and hope someone signs him away so that compensatory draft picks are awarded. (I consider this an extremely unlikely proposition for the team)
This is the likely route AJ will take(see, turner, brees, macree, edwards, florence....etc)
why? the eagles know sproles value in thier offense, as well as the patriots, dolphins,...etc. the FA market is cruel place and if nobody wants him(unlikely)the other option....

* Sign Sproles to a long-term contract and keep him here in San Diego

but this plays into AJ's lap and will likely give sproles a low ball contract. those are my thoughts.

peace out

Anonymous said... Feb 10, 2010, 7:48:00 AM

Are you crazy!!!! Sign Sproles away? He has proven himself. A.J. needs to stop trying to find diamonds in the rough and keep the players that have proven themselfs. I say A.J. signs a hard nose running back, a big full back, nose tackle, safety and a "KICKER".

Paul said... Feb 10, 2010, 10:09:00 AM

We should try and sign Sproles to a long term contract but he won't get the money he wants from the Chargers anyway.... The only reason he pushed for a long contract after the playoff game against the Colts was because his stock was high and some other teams would have bit. We know what he's capable of, Sproles is a compliment, nothing more. He's been average at best in the reutrn game, he can't produce in the run game and now whenever he gets on the field teams look for the screen so he's even less useful. We'll probably put the low tender on him after he declines our offer because he thinks he deserves more... AJ see's RBs as short term answers, he wouldn't even give the best RB the team's ever had a big contract so i doubt sproles will be here much longer... Sign the low tender, let sproles go somewhere and be happy and let us reap the benefits in the draft.

Stephen said... Feb 10, 2010, 12:42:00 PM

I'd like to keep him, but we can't afford him and we can pick up a rookie in the draft and a free agent to at least run the ball to set up play action.

Anonymous said... Feb 10, 2010, 1:27:00 PM

This is tough! Sproles is dynamic and a threat and a talent, other Teams have tried to duplicate him (small-fast-strong, but none have thus far. This year, his kick off threat was average though. Not really spectacular and we coulda shoulda tried some others at that spot just to mix it up. Sproles is now way a back filed threat, look at the times both in 2008 and this past year when he took over for LT...ouch! He has the ability to find a hole sometime, but he is so small and that seems to be as big a hole as our line can open???!!! He is a real threat on the outside and as a crossing receiver, but he can't really block anyone of size like a DE in a blitz...he tries but come on he is only so strong. All in all, he never complains or whines (unlike LT suddenly?), he works hard and plays hard every down, and he is a unique player in every respect. I would sign him long term but start using his assets to the fullest even rotate or eliminate his kick return duties, use him on screens, crossing patterns, 3rd down draws, and even as a forth or fifth receiver in a formation. So sorry LT may or will be gone, he has been a great Team guy but it maybe time...we need a young power back to pose a threat, even though he will be a token player since we are a passing Team. We need help on the "D" side way more than "O" as we have many weapons, some improvement on the line to establish a run sorta??? But our "D" went backwards and that is were AJ should put the money. I would keep Meriman myself for 1 more year, let him earn the last year on his contract, he will play like the animal he was a couple years ago so he can increase his "value" and we get a great year out of him. Since 2011 will likely be canceled or a scab player year, this could be our best chance to make the run to the trophy with the best we can keep and afford. How about the kicker? What I would do is have some serious try outs and see if you know who can earn a know, Mr. Awesome until it really really counts! Ya know, if he hit the two "chip shots", we would have won...momentum would have been on our favor and Mr. Jackson won't have felt the need to kick that red flag around?! AJ has proven from time to time to come through with some players on the free agency lists, also look who he had as backups and off the lists as our players were falling from injury every week it seemed. Great job there, can't deny the efforts of the many who stepped up!!
Go Bolts

Anonymous said... Feb 10, 2010, 3:13:00 PM

I say trade Sproles, you're right he has proven himself which means we can get a good valued trade for him, maybe in the consensus of reggie bush or even trade him for another positioned player and then pick up like a javier arenas, from alabama, although we might have to give up a 7th round draft pick as well for the reggie bush deal or something; but still I think Reggie Bush is the better version of Sproles; I know some people are going to think im crazy but I think we should give LT an oppurtunity one more year with his normal amount of carries to really see where he is, and by trading darren sproles that would allow us to get another "right away" impact player or as said before pick up a good solid running back like Jonathan Dwyer from Georgia Tech to be our future back and as well to be ready just in case like all the LT doubters out there, if he is still struggling even with his normal load of carries. I really think that could make a huge difference, and something I would really like to see happen..

Anonymous said... Feb 10, 2010, 3:27:00 PM

or even like a jahvid best or take our chances on a LaGarrete Blount, Demarco Murray, Stafon Johnson, or even Evan Royster from Penn State

Anonymous said... Feb 10, 2010, 4:14:00 PM

Hey Rob, Tell me what you thing about this: Let L.T. go ( goung to do this anyway),Trade Sproles for draft picks. Now we have money to sign players who can help us now. Trade for Joey Porter,sign free agent Seymore from Oakland. Now if the Chargers get lucky and get the DT/NT and OT they want,and need in the first 2 rounds of the draft. How about signing Lendale White from Ten.? and Draft a RB in 3rd or 4th round.

Rob Zepeda said... Feb 10, 2010, 4:56:00 PM

@Anonymous above:

Unfortunately getting rid of Sproles leaves the team with no proven options at running back - nobody that defenses need to gameplan for. Without LT and Sproles, the Chargers would be forced to devote multiple draft picks to the RB position and would have to take one early. With such a gaping hole at the position, they wouldn't be able to afford to wait until round 3 or 4.

Sproles is also a Pro Bowl return man so you would need to fill that position as well. It would have to be a first round pick to take Sproles away from me.

As for signing free agents, the Chargers' hands are tied. They were one of the "elite eight" this year and by rule can only sign one free agent.

For the right price (fifth round pick or lower) I do think trading for Joey Porter is a good move.

I do think your plan is well-thought out and it does address the team's needs, but it too much of a gamble I think.

Anonymous said... Feb 10, 2010, 5:43:00 PM

With all these rules Rob, it seems they punish the top teams in all fronts. First naturely their turn in the draft which I understand. But also the amount of free agents they can sign, that really sucks. So I am starting to see why more and more A.J. Smith is valuable. May be hard nose, but you need some one who can spot raw talent. Because that is the only option those winning teams have now to get help stocking their teams. He just has to keep it going.

Anonymous said... Feb 10, 2010, 6:14:00 PM

All Sproles has done in San Diego is prove his worth. He DOES block, he DOES pick up the blitz, he absolutely can run from scrimmage, and when the Chargers manage to block for him, he returns well. He's not the fastest guy on the field, but he is without a doubt the quickest. And he knows the offense. Sign him long-term, be wiser in how he is used. Run Hester and Tolbert up the middle to set up play-action, if we must. He is unique, and if he goes to another team, we'll end up paying for it.

thekid said... Feb 10, 2010, 8:36:00 PM

if we do end up keeping sproles we need a lagarette blount. a big back that can do some damage. we could pick him up probably in the 3rd or 4th round, which leaves the chargers with 2-3 rounds to pick up on thier other needs such as linemen.

Brian said... Feb 10, 2010, 9:27:00 PM

Sign him to a 5-year deal @ between $2 and $3 million. Obtain a solid run-blocking RT and FB to clear the way for him. Keep Jackson and Floyd to keep the edges of the defense honest. Try to hold on to L.T. for at least one more year so the draft can be used to bolster the trenches. See what our rotation can do with better blocking up front. Pray for better health next year! :)

Anonymous said... Feb 11, 2010, 7:12:00 AM

Your first and fourth options are not correct. Because DS made 6.6 million last year under the Franchise tag, the Chargers must offer him 110% of last year's salary (7.3 million) to keep him as a restricted free agent. I can't see the Chargers doing this. Your second option is also not correct. Sproles can't be traded until he signs a contract (either a long term one, or a one-year 7.3 million deal as a restricted free agent). I believe the Chargers will try to work out a long term deal at a lower per year salary, and if they don't succeed, allow him to test free agency.

Anonymous said... Feb 11, 2010, 3:55:00 PM

What are you thinking? LT stays Sproles goes, draft a future RB to learn from the best ever. Everybody piled on LT saying 7 million for 700 yards bla bla. But Sproles cost the Chargers 6.621 las year for 300 Rushing yds and 400 receiving? I offer 2 round tender to sproles and pay LT. If he stay well ok, but if he goes, see ya..

Anonymous said... Feb 12, 2010, 12:58:00 PM

LT is NOT coming back. If Sproles tries to pull another stunt and hold out to be paid the Chargers won't hesitate to try and trade him. Sproles wants a longterm deal and AJ won't give him that... It's not as easy as Keep one and draft another. There's a big chance we lost both those guys and then we have to start next season with a completely new RB group. WE should sign a Someone like Lendale White, Leonard Weaver or Jerious Norwood and draft Someone like Jahvid Best or Ryan Matthews.

Spark E said... Feb 12, 2010, 2:25:00 PM

To the anonymous posters from yesterday @ 7:12 a.m., you are wrong about what restricted free agency means. There is nothing about being a restricted free agent that says you are owed a 10% raise over your salary the previous year. You are confusing it with the franchise tag, I'm afraid, and the number is actually 120% OR the avg. of the top five salaries at your position. This is why Sproles made so much money THIS year! Restricted free agency means that the player may negotiate with other clubs, but the current team has the opportunity to match another's offer, or to receive compensation in the form of draft-picks. The player's current team can make pretty much any qualifying offer that they want, which would determine the level of draft picks they would receive. I'm pretty sure that an offer of $2.5 million would be first-round tender, but I don't really know the actual threshold for each level.

Anonymous said... Feb 16, 2010, 2:08:00 AM

u must be kidding sign him. this should have been the M. Turner Sproles show. How did we end up w/ so so many proven player free agents. I'm soo fustrated. AJ get your head out of your ass. Jackson,Gates, McNeil all stay and bring in Porter. Key word Disapline for 2010 season.

lighting 72

Anonymous said... Feb 16, 2010, 9:23:00 AM

Let sproles go and keep LT
draft a RB for the future and let them learn from LT ...
how do you think turner and sproles got to be as good as they are ?
From running behind LT that's how
everybody seems to forget that this guy was the face of chargers football
when we sucked
show him some respect, he's still got value , and he's made the team enough Money in marketing and mearchindising
to pay his salary for the next 5 seasons

frederick byers said... Feb 16, 2010, 1:02:00 PM

i have listed to all these comments about trading the teams best, get Lyndel White Joey Porter Thank You FRED

Reality said... Feb 16, 2010, 2:04:00 PM

Wow a Charger fan that see's player discipline on the field a reason we lost to the Jet's. You are so right. Lack of team discipline is a coaching problem. It would not happen on a Bill Comher coached team or other coaches that stress discipline. But alas 3 more year's With Norv Turner, a coach who attempts an onside kick with 3 timeouts and 3 plus minutes to go in a playoff game. Nice call Norv. That is playing to lose. Ryan, like all good coaches goes for the throat. Norv does not. Don't blame Kaeding. If the Chargers scored touchdowns on their first 3 drive's the game would have been our's. But no,personnel fouls piled on top of more penalties along with bad play calling point's to lack of discipline, which,of course is all coaching. The person who want's to keep L.T. is an idiot. He WAS great but should have been traded when we had the choice to keep Turner. Could have gotten high draft choices or maybe even a PROVEN defensive end or offensive lineman. Wait, what did i say? Put pressure on the opposing Q.B.? How can i be so foolish, Let's draft another project running back A.J. , no need for a Julius Pepper's here. Like Charger ownership and coaches look forward to another play to lose season.

Anonymous said... Feb 17, 2010, 7:38:00 PM

Trade him while his stock is still high. Please note the laws of gross tonage
come into play. 185 pounds up aginst 1k of linemen, this just won't last long, special teams only.
So spend him packing. Sorry Darren.

Anonymous said... Feb 17, 2010, 9:19:00 PM

Does anyone remember Lionel "The Train" James. He lasted I think 5 yrs with the Chargers , correct me if am wrong. Sproles is the same type of player in size and talent. You can have all the heart in the world but realty sets in.He can't take the punishment every play,every game for the 16 games plus playoffs games. If we can get Lendale White, with Hestler & Tolbert for back up. Bennet is still under contract, plus we don't know what will happen to L.T. yet. Trade Sproles now while he is healthy & completed a good year. The money he wants we can sign a rookie RB or sign our own free agents.

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