Darren Sproles would rather be released than traded by the New Orleans Saints, the running back told ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
But Sproles seems resigned to the fact the decision won’t be left in his hands.
“I want to get released. I don’t want to be traded,” Sproles told Anderson. “I don’t know where they would send me because I have no control over it, and I want to be able to pick.
“The good thing is none of the teams I’m told they’re talking to are terrible. It’s more than two. I feel I should have more of an idea later on today.”
The Saints decided to trade Sproles instead of releasing him because there was so much interest from other teams when they shopped him as trade bait, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
There is no official deadline for trading Sproles, but the Saints could use the salary-cap space after signing former Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd to a six-year contract a league source told ESPN is worth $54 million, with $28 million guaranteed.
Sproles, 30, is due $3.5 million in salary and bonuses in the final year of his contract. All of that can be saved against the Saints’ cap.
The Saints decided that Sproles was expendable in part because of the emergence of young running backs Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson in their deep backfield.
As ESPN first reported last week, the Saints shopped both Sproles and veteran running back Pierre Thomas. They ultimately decided to keep Thomas, agreeing to a two-year extension Wednesday.
Sproles was one of the Saints’ most dynamic offensive weapons over the past three seasons after he signed as a free agent from the San Diego Chargers. He set an NFL record for all-purpose yards in a season with 2,696 in 2011, he first with the Saints.
During his three seasons with New Orleans, Sproles amassed 1,067 rushing yards, 1,981 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns.
However, Sproles played in only about 33 percent of the Saints’ offensive snaps during the 15 games in which he was active last year. And his numbers in 2013 (220 rushing yards, 71 receptions for 604 yards, four total touchdowns) were slightly down from past seasons.Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate