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A Brief Analysis of Darren Sproles

It's the NFL offseason, which means people are flat running out of actual things to talk about and instead are letting their brains run wild with rampant speculation. The hot topic the last few days? One Darren Sproles.

Darren seems to be on or near the top of many fan's wishlists unless they're 100% happy with the teams backfield. Even the Chiefs and Broncos fans, who have plenty of young talent RB, are glancing at Sproles' way and asking if he can fulfill some of their team's needs.

I couldn't have been happier that the Chargers finally found the right uses for Darren this year, bringing him in mainly as a 3rd down RB and limiting his returns to kicks (and not punts). He turned out to be one of the best 3rd down RBs in the league, which turned out to be incredibly useful when the Chargers would need to abandon the running game in an attempt to come back from a large deficit.

I really wish the Chargers could sign Darren back to play the same role, but to do so they'd need to find a way to pay him about as much as an NFL team normally pays a return guy/3rd down RB (almost nothing). That's not going to happen as long as there are teams out there that believe he can be a backup RB, part-time starter, and/or full-time KR/PR. The question that leads us to, then, is whether it the teams or just the fans that think he can handle that role.

I'm sure there are a few teams out there that would use him the right way. The Colts, the Patriots, the Cowboys, etc. However, if he lands somewhere that's a little more desperate for RB help (like the Redskins or 49ers), he might have to go through the experience of being over-valued and disappointing fans all over again. Nobody wants to see that.

Personally, I see Darren landing a long-term contract for good money (5 years, $15 million sound about right?) and hope he has success wherever he lands. Unfortunately, I don't see that being with the San Diego Chargers.