Earlier today, NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport broke the news that the New Orleans Saints would be releasing long time running back Darren Sproles if they were unable to trade him. The unexpected story was confirmed by Sproles via his twitter account where he wrote:
“Thank you New Orleans for your support over the past 3 years! I will always be forever grateful. #WhoDat”
While it can’t be said that the move doesn’t make sense financially (Sproles was due to receive an estimated $3.5 million in salary and bonuses this year) it still comes as surprise. The running back had consistently been one of the Saints deadliest offensive players for the past three years, with a record of 71 catches and 41 total returns last season alone.
Sporles’s teammate, Jimmy Graham also took to Twitter to voice his opinion on the coach Sean Payton’s decision:
“Wow unbelievable. Shocked and disappointed on everything that’s gone on this offseason”.
Arguments aside, this is risky move for the Saints. Sproles was an experienced player who almost singlehandedly molded the New Orleans offensive into a force to be reckoned with. He was also a crowd favorite, beloved by Saints fans. It remains to be seen whether a newer and younger player will be capable of filling his shoes, both in the field and in fan’s hearts.