Immediately following Day 3 of the NFL Draft, the news broke that Philadelphia would be returning veteran free agent running back Darren Sproles to the roster. Up until today, the details of that contract were not yet released.
This morning, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network shared the figured on Sproles’ 1-year deal:
The #Eagles gave Darren Sproles a $400K signing bonus on his 1-year, $1.415M deal (max $1.433M with likely to be earned incentives). Total guarantee is $1M. So a good bet to have a role in his 14th season at age 35.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 4, 2018
Even for returning from a broken arm and ACL tear at the ripe young age of 35, this is a cheaper deal than I expected for Sproles. When he first came to Philadelphia via trade with the Saints, Sproles’ contract was extended 2 years at $3.5M per year. Before hitting free agency following the 2016 season, he signed a 1-year extension with Philadelphia, to the tune of $4.5M.
But after one season during which UDFA Corey Clement proved he could provide a viable receiving threat from the backfield (at a fraction of the cost), Sproles is only now worth about $1.4M—3/10ths of what he was worth one season ago.
As it is, Sproles represented at least a $4M cap hit in the past three seasons with the Eagles—now, he’s less money on the books than players like Chris Maragos, Chance Warmack, and Corey Nelson.
Given the high percentage of the contract that’s guaranteed (~70%), it would seem that Philadelphia feels comfortable predicting Spoles’ return from injury and subsequent spot on the roster. This doesn’t bode well for young RBs like Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey, both of whom are on the roster bubble in 2018, and represent $691K and $623K cap hits in 2018, respectively.
Getting a culture player and fan favorite player in Darren Sproles back for another year was already great news. The cheap contract is just cheddar.