According to a Tuesday report by Adam Schefter of ESPN, the New Orleans Saints now plan on trying to trade running back Darren Sproles instead of releasing him, because of “heavy interest” in him.
After that report circulated heavily, I received two emails from listeners of the podcast who both asked about the possibility of the Pittsburgh Steelers trading for the 30-year-old longtime Saint.
For starters, if the Steelers did indeed want to trade for Sproles, it would be a bad idea as they would inherit the $3.4 million base salary he’s scheduled to earn in 2014, along with the $100,000 workout bonus he will also be due. Being as their currently around $5 million under the salary cap at the close of Wednesday’s business, you can clearly see why that simply will not fly.
In addition to his high salary, 2014 is the final year of Sproles’ current contract and that means if the two sides were unable to work out some kind of extension that he could be gone to the highest bidder next offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
On top of everything else, while Sproles has been a highly productive running back over the course of the last five seasons, he is 30 and will actually turn 31 prior to the start of the 2014 season. Having a running back on the wrong side of 30 is risky proposition and one the Steelers should avoid unless they can get him at a very good price.
If the Saints are ultimately unable to trade Sproles, they will undoubtedly release him and if the Steelers really do have interest in him, they can try to sign him to a much cheaper one or two-year deal at that point. The only problem with that is that several other teams with a lot more cap space than the Steelers have will more than likely be trying to do the same.
In short, don’t expect to see Sproles in a Steelers uniform in 2014.