New Orleans trades Saints RB Darren Sproles to Philadelphia Eagles

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After a week of shopping him around, the Saints send Sproles to the NFC East in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick.

Darren Sproles has been traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he will rejoin former Saints teammate Malcolm Jenkins.  While the safety was recently signed to a three-year contract with the Eagles, Sproles will be playing out the final season of the four-year contract he signed with the Saints in 2011.

The Who Dat Nation erupted last week, when it was announced that WR Lance Moore had been released and running backs Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles were being shopped around.  It wasn't long before the word was out that the Saints would be releasing Sproles by Tuesday, if they hadn't received enough interest... a decision questioned by fans and analysts around the NFL.

Then Tuesday came and went, with Sproles still on the roster.  In the midst of all the surprise and uproar, GM Mickey Loomis had begun to receive serious trade interest from other teams, so letting the short but significant threat leave for free wasn't the right decision for the team.  Of course, the player wanted to be released outright (instead of traded) so he could determine his own fate, as would anyone.  His wife also had a few choice words for the organization, claiming they were unfairly jerking his chain.

But this blip of drama is over, at least for Saints fans.  It was reported early Thursday that a deal had been reached to trade Darren Sproles.  Despite a strong push by the Washington Redskins to acquire the versatile back, he has reportedly been traded to Philadelphia, where Chip Kelly will have one more toy for his new offense.  The Saints received one of Phliadelphia's fifth-round draft picks -- the one they acquired from the Patriots for nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga -- for the 5-foot-6, 190-pound Sproles, whom the Eagles no doubt hope will fill a hole they have had at kick returner for years.

Sproles, who followed Drew Brees to New Orleans from the San Diego Chargers, was one of the most dynamic offensive weapons for the Saints over the past three years, racking up a total of 1,067 rushing yards, 1,981 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns.  He also set an NFL single-season record for all-purpose yards with 2,696 in 2011.

However, No.43 only played in about 33 percent of the Saints' offensive snaps during the 15 games in which he was active last season.  And his 220 rushing yards, 71 receptions for 604 yards, and 4 touchdowns in 2013 were down from previous season totals.

The trade not only gives New Orleans a seventh pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but clears approximately $3.5 million in cap space for the Saints... the same amount as the 2014 cap hit for safety Jairus Byrd's new contract with the team.

And as for the fifth-round pick:  since Sean Payton arrived in 2006, the Saints have picked up WR Kenny Stills, CB Corey White, P Thomas Morstead, G Carl Nicks, and DE/LB Rob Ninkovich in the fifth round.

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