By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS)—Looks like an explosive offense just became more explosive, with the addition of Darren Sproles. First reported by CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Eagles have made a trade with the New Orleans Saints for a fifth-round draft pick for the compact 5-foot-6, 190-pound all-purpose back.
Reports were filtering out of New Orleans that Sproles was going to be either traded or released this week.
The Eagles seem a great fit.
Though Sproles’ numbers have dipped in recent years, his 124 touches last season produced 824 total yards over 15 games, those figures were down from 891 total yards in 2012 and 1,313 yards in 2011. Still, Sproles, mixed in with LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, a healthy Jeremy Maclin, Zach Ertz and Riley Cooper make the Eagles even more dangerous.
“Darren Sproles is an unbelievable offensive weapon,” said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. “He can do it all, run, catch, plus he’s a proven winner. And on top of that, he can bring all of those dynamic skills to the return game as well. There is no question we were all excited once we found out we were going to be able to trade for him.”
Sproles started last season strong, with 45 touches in September and a dip in October and November, with 21 and 20 touches in those months, respectively. But he did finish strong with 38 touches in December. It has to be noted that Sproles did have—and played through—an ankle injury in November.
Sproles may have lost a step, but he also won’t have to carry as much of a load as he did for the Saints. Having Sproles, McCoy, Jackson and Maclin on the field at the same time will cause matchup nightmares for any defensive coordinator that faces the Eagles.
“Darren is a player that we have admired for many years – he’s a proven performer at a high level,” said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. “He’s such a dangerous back and he’s a great piece to add to our offense and to our special teams. We spent a considerable time in order to try to make this happen and we were very happy to get a deal done with New Orleans.”
The Eagles finished second in total offense in the NFL behind the Denver Broncos, averaging 417.3 yards a game (with a team-record 6,676) and 27.6 points a game, which also was second in the NFL.
Over his career, Sproles has rushed for 2,221 yards, 3,831 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns. He has five touchdown returns on special teams, with a career kick return average of 25.3 yards, which ranks 14th among active NFL players.