Most of the San Diego Chargers’ fans who responded to our sound-off question, asking them if they want the team to keep free-agent running back/returner Daren Sproles, think it’s time to move on. Here are some of your responses.
Robert from San Diego: Hi Bill, I do want the Chargers to keep Darren Sproles. He is a versatile weapon, fantastic receiver and dependable third down back (and an underrated pass protector.) He's also a dangerous returner. However, he will need to take a pay cut as the Chargers will obviously not be able to pay him the same franchise amount as well as resign all of the other important free agents. If he's willing to take a pay cut, great. If not, Jordan Todman seems like an exciting prospect to replace him.
Chris from Boston: I don't think they will miss him in the return game, there is a lot of good young talent with speed and instincts out there that can take it to the house or get you consistent positive yards, it's in the backfield, picking up blitzes and protecting Phillip where he'll be missed. He didn't seem to make to many big plays or have those game changing moments last year. Maybe he just had a bad year or maybe it's a sign of things to come for an undersized running back/returner coming up on five years in the NFL. I would say sell, thank you for your electrifying plays and amazing effort, but we're moving on.
Matt Slater from San Diego: Bill, with all due respect for the little guy, I'd love to see the Chargers part ways with Sproles this season. Guys like Li'l Tankie are great, but they decline suddenly, and it's not hard to see this happening last year. We've got the rookies we need to replace him, and he plays a role where young legs are an advantage. It was different last year, because he was our best pass-blocker RB, but this year Mathews and Tolbert should be up to speed with their pass protection.
Joe from Monterey, Ca.: Bill, Darren Sproles is a special player based on what he has been able to achieve in a "big man's" game at such a small stature. He is a fan favorite, as well as one of mine, due to the fact that the avg. "Joe" can look at him and relate if only in the belief that if you work hard enough and with (a touch of) god given talent you can achieve anything. That being said the reality of the situation is that the Chargers most likely won't be able to (more along the lines of willing to) pay a 3rd down/situational back/returner the money he most likely will garner throughout the league when FA hits. Youth may prevail in this decision.
I think the Chargers’ are leaning toward feeling the way most San Diego fans do about Sproles. They’d like to keep him, in a perfect world. But after paying him more than a combined $13 million in the past two years, it might be a luxury to keep him unless Sproles chooses to stay in San Diego for less than he would likely get on the open market. I think that could be a long shot and I think the Chargers realize it as well since they drafted running back/returner Jordan Todman and defensive back/returner Marcus Gilchrist.
Thanks again to everyone who participated.