According to Ian Rapoport, the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to terms with veteran running back Darren Sproles, bringing him back to the City of Brotherly Love on a one-year deal, giving him what is likely one last shot at another ring.
This is an interesting move for the Eagles and one that comes with an obvious knock-on effect in an already crowded running back room. Sproles missed ten games with a hammy injury last year, with the team keeping him on the roster when cutting him arguably would’ve made more sense given how bad the injury bug bit, making way for a serviceable replacement elsewhere. Alas, they did not, and Sproles will end his career in Philly.
“My heart is in Philly. That’s where I want to end my career,” Sproles said. “That team, the city is like a family.”
It’s unlikely Darren Sproles steps in and carries the ball 10+ times as he did in 3 occasions in 2016, but he will be a key component in keeping Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, and the rest of the committee at their freshest. If Sproles can become a ‘change of pace’ back, it will not only keep defenses honest, opening up the passing attack for Carson Wentz, but it will give the Eagles even more unpredictability in their rushing offense.
Darren Sproles may be one of the best dual-threat backs in league history, if not the best. In 2017, he still found a way to total 73 yards on 10 receptions before his injury, building on the 427 yards and two scores he caught for in the year prior. In fact, Sproles caught a pass for 10+ yards in 9 games during the rookie season of Carson Wentz and I’m sure we can all remember a few iconic plays.
The Eagles missed that last season. Wendell Smallwood set a career-high in receptions and Clement was inconsistent and an inability to run the ball effectively saw Pederson resort to screens, swings and everything in-between as a way to pick up short yards and keep the clock moving.
With Sproles back in the fold, the ability to add a ‘pony’ look and split the backfield, or simply motion Sproles into a wider position could all be terrifying for defenses, again opening up some new ways to move the ball for Carson Wentz.
The return game:
Sproles also has a wealth of experience as a returner and could be a huge cog in Fipp’s special teams unit for one last rodeo. As of right now, Boston Scott, a back with an extremely similar skillset to Sproles, was among the favorites to pick up those honors, but now his roster spot, along with that of a player like Wendell Smallwood, has taken a knock.
The Eagles have a flurry of talented running backs and it’s safe to say that there’s no way they all make the final roster. The question is, who will be forced out of the equation now Sproles is back? That’s what Training Camp will ultimately tell us.
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