Free agent Darren Sproles will turn 35 in June.
He tore his ACL and broke his arm on the same play in week three, cutting short his 12th NFL season as the Birds went on to win Super Bowl 52 without him.
From a pure business sense, you’d think the Eagles might move on from an aging star coming off a pair of injuries, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, not according to Doug Pederson, who spoke to reporters yesterday in Orlando:
“He wants to still play. I want him to play, and I want him to be an Eagle,” Pederson said. “I know the way he works, the way he trains, the way he gets himself prepared. If and when he decides to sign and come back, we’re ready for him.”
Pederson’s availability was part of the coaches’ breakfast at the annual league meeting.
More from Pederson via Tim McManus over at ESPN:
“He’s expressed he wants to be back here, he knows we want him back here,” Pederson said at the NFL owners meeting on Tuesday. “He’s a big part of our team. Punt returner. He’s a tremendous back. A third-down guy. So yeah, we’ll see where it falls out.”
Sproles ran the ball 15 times this season before going on IR, including a team-high 10 carries in the week two loss at Kansas City. He also caught 7 passes for 73 yards.
LeGarrette Blount’s departure does make room for Sproles in a stable that already includes Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement, the latter of whom is due for an expanded role in 2018. Wendell Smallwood is also on the roster and Donnel Pumphrey is scheduled to return from injury.
So if Sproles does come back on an affordable deal, is he a third down back with punt and kick return duties? The Eagles also lost Kenjon Barner to free agency, so there’s certainly a special teams hole to fill.
A Doug clip:
He wants him back.
What say you?
Hell yeah I want him back. He’s not only a star that makes huge plays, he would fill the current hole at punt returner.
The Eagles are still in win now mode. If they were building a team to take a shot in a few years then, sure, maybe you try to develop a young guy in that role. But Sproles can help them win now. He’d be one more potent weapon for Pederson and Wentz, and could be a difference maker that determine whether or not they return to the Super Bowl in a tough NFC.
PS: When Russel Joy talks about getting rid of Jason Peters on the podcast I just want to punch him in the mouth. He has no concept of the importance of LT or what that position pays in the NFL. It’s like listening to someone read bad philly.com comments. aloud.
No. Don’t need him (see Clement, Corey)
See Corey Clement return punts? No, I haven’t.
So you’d sign Sproles to return punts only? Mskes no sense…and when the NFL eliminates punt returns who cares.
i think sproles getting hurt was a blessing in disquise for the team this year. once he went out, wentz went away from that checkdown stuff and all those underneath throws and crappy bubble screens this team tried especially in the first 2 weeks, it developed corey clement nicely and made carson make plays with his arm down the field. if hes back, he should be a PR only
I’d like to see Sproles fail to contribute before I call him too old, especially before we know who we drafted. Ajayi’s knees may be as fucked as Miami believes. Clement is great but he’s not going to be Emmett Smith. Guys are going to get hurt and you need change of pace backs. The other guys are homer memes. Every team has 3 or 4 guys like Smallwood and Pumphrey who “look good” in shorts.
Sproles was great, but you can’t sustain with 35 year old backs coming off ACLs. Pumphrey was drafted to be the next Sproles. Move ahead with that plan. If the Eagles have an opportunity to draft a good back (can’t recall his name), they should not pass-up that opportunity to keep Sproles. We already have Pumphrey; we need another Blount type runner.
P.S. No, Clement is not Emmitt Smith, but his ability to catch passes out of the backfield seemed to duplicate Sproles’ ability in that regard.
Most definitely! Darren Sproles is my favorite player. He creates big plays and so much fun to watch! He has the biggest heart on the team! Go Sproles!
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