ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 09: Darren Sproles #43 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on December 09, 2018 in Arlington, Texas.

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Philadelphia Eagles bring back Darren Sproles on 1-year deal

July 19, 2019 - 5:51 pm
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Eliot Shorr-Parks

PHILADELPHIA (WIP) — The Eagles have signed running back Darren Sproles to a one-year contract, the team announced on Friday evening.

The move ensures that Sproles will be with the team at the start of training camp and for also for the regular season, which will be his sixth with the team. Sproles said prior to last season that 2018 would be his final year, but after spending much of the season on the sideline with a hamstring injury, he clearly wants to go out on his own terms and not on the injured list. 

Sproles has also made it clear he wants to get into the top five in NFL history for all-purpose yards. Sproles currently sits with 19,520 yards, which is good for sixth all-time. He is only 162 yards behind wide receiver Tim Brown, who is No. 5. He is 1,024 yards behind No. 4, running back Emmitt Smith. 

While it is unlikely that he could catch Smith, passing Brown would be fairly easy for Sproles, especially considering how highly head coach Doug Pederson thinks of Sproles and the role he will likely play in the offense. 

The Eagles might have made some additions to their running back group, but it is still wise of them to make some room for Sproles. Although they believe that Jordan Howard and rookie Miles Sanders can step in and make an impact in the passing game, neither have shown they can be counted on to do so. Howard hasn’t done it in the NFL, and Sanders didn’t do it in his one-year as a starter at Penn State. The Eagles can project they will be able to, but they won’t know for sure until the season gets here — at which point it might be too late. 

Bringing in Sproles as the third-or-fourth running back gives the Eagles a sure thing in the passing game from the running back position. Sproles won't come in and carry a heavy workload, but he will be counted on for four-or-five touches a game. 

Sproles played well at the end of last season after returning from his injured hamstring, which should give the Eagles reason to believe he will be able to contribute next season as well. 

With Sproles almost certainly a lock to make the roster, as well as Howard and Sanders, the Eagles now have three locks at running back. That means at least one of Corey Clement, Josh Adams or Wendell Smallwood isn't make the roster, assuming the Eagles go with five running backs. If they go with only four, two will be gone, which should make the battle in training camp very interesting to watch.