I was reading the Press Democrat today and came across an article from Matt Maiocco where he describes how recent San Diego Charger free agent Darren Sproles is a good fit for the 49ers and also he thinks it is a realistic possibility.
And at 9:01 p.m. (PT) on March 4 – the first minute the move is legal – the San Francisco 49ers should make the arrangements to get him on the next flight to the Bay Area.
Moreover, I think it’s a realistic possibility.
The San Diego Chargers tagged Sproles last year as their franchise player, giving him a one-year contract worth $6.62 million. Sproles is scheduled to be a restricted free agent, but in order for the Chargers to maintain that status they’d have to give him a 10-percent pay raise to $7.28 million.
That is too much for a return specialist and change-of-pace running back, so the Chargers will allow Sproles to be an unrestricted free agent. And that’s where the 49ers should step in.
Coach Mike Singletary promised the 49ers would place an emphasis on improving the return game this offseason. There have been hints all along the 49ers planned go after a top-notch return man. And Sproles could be that man. The 49ers, theoretically, could sign Sproles without compromising their salary structure.
I would the 49ers to sign Sproles, signing Sproles would mean the 49ers would most likely not have to use a draft pick on a return man, like CJ Spiller or Dexter McCluster.