If you’ve been wondering about the future of Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles, well, here’s somewhat of an update for you:
Will Darren Sproles join Jason Kelce in eschewing retirement for one more season with the #Eagles? Possible, though it sounds like Sproles will take his time making a decision. Could be a bit before the team knows either way.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 2, 2019
Sproles, who turns 36 in June, previously stated 2018 was going to be his last season in the NFL.
But he also noted that he was eyeing the fifth place spot on the NFL’s all-purpose yards list. And due to only being healthy for six regular season games last season, Sproles wasn’t able to achieve his stated goal. He currently sits 163 all-purpose yards shy of passing Tim Brown on the list.
Leading up to the Eagles’ 2019 playoff game against the Bears, ESPN reported that Sproles told his teammates and the coaching staff he “seriously could want another year in [the] NFL.” This, combined with Garafolo’s reporting, makes it sound like Sproles is open to playing in 2019.
But will the Eagles want him to return? That remains to be seen.
Sproles is currently set to be a free agent, so the Eagles will have to give him a new contract to bring him back. Last year, Philadelphia didn’t re-sign Sproles until right after the 2018 NFL Draft. It seemed like the team waited to see what other offseason moves could made at running back before committing to Sproles. The Eagles could take a similar approach again this year.
Sproles proved he still had some gas left in the tank during Philly’s final five regular season games. His 24 rushing attempts went for 110 yards (4.6 average) and one touchdown. As a pass catcher, Sproles logged 11 receptions for 138 yards and two scores. He also handled seven punt returns for 54 yards.
Sproles wasn’t as impactful in the playoffs. He rushed 16 times for a mere 25 yards (1.6 average). He had five receptions for 35 yards. His sole punt return lost one yard.
With Sproles and Jay Ajayi both set to be free agents, the Eagles will be looking to acquire running backs this offseason. Those additions could come in the form of free agent signings and/or selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The guess here is the Eagles will go into the offseason acting like Sproles won’t be back. If it happens that he still fits on their roster after the 2019 NFL Draft rolls around, then maybe both sides start talking about a potential return.
Sproles is a fun player to watch and an incredibly respected member of the Eagles’ locker room, so it’ll be a little sad if he isn’t back. At the same time, the team knows they might not be able to count on him staying healthy and effective.