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Keeping Sproles is the right call

3/4/2010

How about that?

The San Diego Chargers changed their mind.

After originally planning not to tender Darren Sproles, which would have made him a free agent, San Diego beat the deadline and put the high tender of a first- and third-round pick on the dynamic Sproles.

Sproles was hours from being very popular on the open market. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Kansas City was one of the teams to setup a visit with Sproles.

Now, the Kansas native is not going to leave Southern California.

It’s interesting that San Diego made this move. I know the Chargers were reluctant to pay Sproles more than $7 million because he can’t be the primary running back. The Chargers thought it was too expensive to keep Sproles, especially since it was reported that Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Shawne Merriman and Marcus McNeill will be given the first and third-round tenders.

Ultimately, San Diego decided it was too risky to let Sproles hit the open market. Once the Chargers realized they couldn’t get a long-term deal done Thursday, they did what it took to keep Sproles.

I think that is the right call. Yes, it is expensive to keep Sproles, but he is a serious weapon. He helps make San Diego’s offense special. He is dangerous as a change-of-pace back and as a receiver. Sproles is a threat to score every time he touches the ball in the return game.

This is still a team that has serious Super Bowl designs. Keeping its best players is clearly in the best interest of the team in the immediate future.

San Diego will have to find a couple of running backs in free agency and in the draft. But they won’t have to replace Sproles. And that’s important. It may have taken the Chargers a while, but they came to the right decision.