The free-agent running back market will have an intriguing new name.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the New Orleans Saints are releasing Darren Sproles, according to a source. The news comes soon after we learned that Sproles was being shopped for a potential trade. Clearly, no one was interested. Sproles confirmed the news by saying goodbye to Saints fans from his verified Twitter account.
This couldn't be an easy decision for Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis. Sproles was one of the biggest reasons why the Saints' offense has been so difficult to defend over the last five seasons. Behind Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham, we'd argue that no Saints' weapon was more valuable than Sproles.
Payton is betting that Sproles' decline is here. He had a poor season as a returner last year and had fewer explosive plays on offense. Sproles turns 31 in 2014 and the Saints are taking the risk of letting him go a year too early rather than possibly hanging on to him too long.