It appears that the Chargers are going to do a 180 when it comes to their running back spot for the 2010 season. Today a source stated that the team will not tender a contract to Darren Sproles, allowing the back to test the free agent market this spring.
The move comes just four days after the team released LaDainianTomlinson, who ranks eighth on the all-time rushing list with 12,490 yards. If the Chargers wanted to keep Sproles, they’d have to make him an offer of about $7.3 million.
The Chargers have always valued Sproles as a multiple threat. While they can still talk with Sproles about a long-term deal, other teams might want to give him a shot as a featured back. Sproles has said he believes he can be an every-down back. The Chargers have used him as a backup running back, return man and as a receiver out of the backfield.
He made about $6.6 million last season after being tagged as a franchise player. Tomlinson made about $6 million. Still, the Chargers’ running game ranked second-to-last in the league. Sproles was second to Tomlinson last year with 343 yards and three touchdowns on 93 carries, an average of 3.7 yards per carry. He was fourth with 45 catches for 497 yards and four TDs. He was also the primary kickoff and punt returner and scored on a punt return.