July 29, 2011

Saints add speedster Sproles on day of Bush trade

The Saints have replaced one speedy runningback from San Diego, CA with a speedy runningback from the San Diego Chargers.

On the same day the team completed a trade deal that sent Reggie Bush to Miami, the Saints have reportedly agreed to terms on a new four year, $14 million deal.  The cap savings the Saints realized by trading Bush amounted to $13.5 million in 2011.

Sproles, 5'6, 190 was a rookie in 2005 during Drew Brees' final season as a Charger, and since then has been an electrifying situational contributor to the Chargers' high-ranked offenses.  Much like the role Bush played in New Orleans, the diminutive Sproles contributed huge plays in the passing game and has nine touchdowns of 50 yards or more: six on pass receptions, two on kickoff returns and one on a punt return.

It is on return teams that Sproles could have a big impact in 2010, already an accomplished return specialist. He has been the Chargers' full time punt and kick returner since 2007.  The Chargers retained Sproles in 2009 by using the franchise tag on him, then last year thanks to the final league year rules, they retained him by playing the highest possible restricted free agent tender on him, carrying the value of a 1st and 3rd round pick.

Shorter but more compact than Bush, Sproles has outstanding open field moves and speed, and is coming off his best season. Sproles caught 59 passes for 520 yards and two touchdowns, and 50 rushing attempts for 267 yards.

On his career, Sproles has a 4.6 yards/carry average, a 9.6 yards/reception average, 8.2 yards/punt return average, and a 25.1 yards/kickoff return average.

Reggie Bush's career stats through the same number of seasons: 4.0, 7.3, 7.8.  Bush did not return kickoffs for the Saints, recording only one attempt.

Sproles missed the 2006 season with a fractured fibula suffered in a preseason game, but has otherwise remained healthy, playing in all but two of the remaining games in 2005 and 2007-2010.  Excluding the lost 2006 year, Sproles has played in 18 more regular season games than Bush in five seasons.

One thing Bush has an advantage on could be ball security - Sproles has 13 fumbles on 395 offensive touches over five seasons, or one fumble per 30 touches.

Bush has 19 fumbles on rushes and receptions 818 touches over five seasons, or one fumble per 43 touches.

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