Darren Sproles' new deal includes $1M in guarantees

After the Philadelphia Eagles eschewed running backs in the NFL draft, then re-signed Darren Sproles to a new deal, the assumption was the 34-year-old would have a notable role in the offense.

Sproles' new contract reflects that expectation.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the Eagles gave Sproles a $400,000 signing bonus on his $1.415 million contract, with $1 million in total guarantees. The deal is worth a max of $1.433 million with reachable incentives.

As Pelissero notes, the contract indicates Sproles isn't simply summer fodder to be cut before the season but instead should have a role despite turning 35 in June.

Consider some other guarantees on recent free agent running back deals: Mike Davis, $350,000; Jeremy Hill, $150,000; Alfred Blue, $90,000; Frank Gore, $90,000. Sproles comes in south of RBs like LeGarrette Blount ($2 million guaranteed), who should have a big role with his new team, but ahead of players who could be squeezed out by the time the regular season rolls around.

Sproles looked to be in line for a sizable role last season before tearing his ACL during a Week 3 match. He had seven touches in the season opener and 12 touches in Week 2.

Built like a beer keg with feet, Sproles still owns the speed to be a matchup nightmare for defenses. Having him as a threat in punt returns is a huge bonus for Philly. The speedster currently ranks eighth all-time in all-purpose yards.

Returning for his 14th NFL season, Sproles should share the pass-catching role along with Corey Clement behind starter Jay Ajayi. Clement showed he can become a special receiving threat out of the backfield. Yet few backs strike fear into defenses like Sproles catching the ball on third down with open grass ahead. Philly will use that threat to its advantage in 2018.

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