Updated: March 13, 2014, 1:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services
Running back Darren Sproles, who Wednesday expressed a desire to be released by the New Orleans Saints, was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday for a fifth-round draft pick.
The deal was first reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
“Darren Sproles is an unbelievable offensive weapon,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “He can do it all — run, catch — plus he’s a proven winner. And on top of that, he can bring all of those dynamic skills to the return game as well. There is no question we were all excited once we found out we were going to be able to trade for him.”
The Eagles also made a move on defense Thursday, agreeing to a two-year deal with former Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll.
Sproles told ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Wednesday that he’d rather be released by the Saints than traded.
“I don’t know where they would send me because I have no control over it, and I want to be able to pick [a team],” Sproles said.
The Saints decided to trade Sproles because there was so much interest from other teams when he was shopped, a source told Schefter.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was excited to acquire Sproles.
“Darren is a player that we have admired for many years — he’s a proven performer at a high level,” Roseman said. “He’s such a dangerous back, and he’s a great piece to add to our offense and to our special teams. We spent considerable time in order to try to make this happen, and we were very happy to get a deal done with New Orleans.”
Sproles was one of the Saints’ most dynamic offensive weapons the past three seasons after he signed as a free agent from the San Diego Chargers, with a total of 1,067 rushing yards, 1,981 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns. He set an NFL record for all-purpose yards in a season with 2,696 in 2011.
However, Sproles played in only about 33 percent of the Saints’ offensive snaps during the 15 games in which he was active last season. And his numbers in 2013 (220 rushing yards, 71 receptions for 604 yards, four total touchdowns) were slightly down from past seasons.
Carroll, 27, registered 47 tackles and three interceptions in 16 games, including 12 starts, for the Dolphins last season.
“Nolan Carroll brings good experience to our team,” Kelly said. “He’s been a starter in Miami. He’s a good athlete, and he’ll bring good depth to our cornerback position with Cary, Fletch [Bradley Fletcher] and Brandon [Boykin]. His skill set fits what we are trying to do on defense and special teams.”
One of the main focuses for the Eagles during the offseason will be to upgrade a defense that ranked 29th overall last season. On the first day of free agency, the Eagles agreed to a deal with former Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins.