Darren Sproles is no longer in limbo, as the Saints have traded the running back to the Eagles, according to ESPN.com.
Sproles stated on Wednesday that he wanted the Saints to release him instead of trading him.
“I want to be released,” Sproles said. “I don’t want to be 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.
“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.”
Sproles, who the Saints decided to trade rather than release because of interest from other teams, is due $3.5 million between salary and bonuses this season. Over his three years with the Saints, he has accumulated a total of 1,067 rushing yards, 1,981 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns.
– A day after Eric Decker arrived in New Jersey to meet with team officials, the former Broncos wide receiver and the Jets agreed to a deal.
According to ESPN.com, Decker’s five-year deal is worth $36.25 million with $15 million guaranteed. Decker is the biggest free agent Jets general manager John Idzik has signed during his 14 months at the position.
“I am very thankful for my four years in Denver,” Decker said. “I think it’s one of the greatest cities to play in. Unfortunately, I never got an offer from the Broncos. Denver will always be a part of me, but I’m excited about New York being my new community and starting a new chapter in my life. On top of all that, my wife’s expecting our baby any second.”
Last season, the Jets finished the year 31st in the league in passing offense. The deal comes two days after the team, which is looking to help its second-year quarterback Geno Smith with better offensive weapons, released wide receiver Santonio Holmes – the Jets most accomplished player at the position.
Decker comes to New York after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and had a career best 87 receptions for 1,288 yards during 2013. Some scouts believe those numbers were inflated because Decker played with Peyton Manning, and wonder how that will translate to having Smith as a quarterback.
“When you go from a Hall of Fame quarterback, no one else — no matter who it is — can be on the same level,” Decker said. “Talking to the offensive coordinator Marty [Mornhinweg], who has had a good track record in San Francisco and Philadelphia, he really believes in this kid. When you look at the statistics, yeah, he got off to a slow start, but he was hurt early on and he finished the season strong. He improved all season long in a tough market. That’s pretty impressive.”
– After he failed to pass the Raiders’ physical, offensive lineman Rodger Saffold re-signed with the Rams on a reported five-year deal.
According to ESPN.com, a disagreement arose between the Raiders and Rams about Saffold’s shoulder. While Oakland had concerns about the left tackle’s shoulder, the Rams had “no concerns whatsoever.”
Saffold’s agents Alan Herman and Jared Fox contacted doctors at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, who looked at MRIs of Saffold’s shoulder and did not find a problem.
– The Browns announced Wednesday that they have released quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.
“First and foremost, the Browns would like to thank Brandon and his agent for being true professionals,” general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. “The circumstances in which he found himself were not easy for him or the team. After discussions with Brandon and his agent, we’d like to give him the ability to pursue other opportunities.”
Weeden was an unexpected first-round draft pick in 2012, and the young quarterback quickly became the face of the Browns’ struggles.
After a challenging rookie season, Weeden was expected to leave Cleveland when the Browns replaced coach Pat Shurmur with Rob Chudzinski. The team could not find a better option to replace him, though, so he once again had the starting job in 2013.
In eight games during the 2013 season, Weeden completed only 52.8 perecent of his passes and the team lost all five games he started.
Campbell leaves Cleveland after one season with the Browns where he passed for 2,015 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
“We appreciate Jason’s contributions to the Browns in 2013,” Farmer said in a statement. “He’s a respected veteran player in this league. We felt like at this time, early in the free-agency period, we would give him a better opportunity to move forward. We wish Jason the best in his future endeavors.”
– The Lions announced Wednesday that they have agreed to a five-year deal with Golden Tate. Although the team did not disclose the deal, the wide receiver told ESPN.com that he will receive $31 million with $13.25 guaranteed.
“I feel like I’m going to get a lot of balls, the other receivers are going to get a lot of balls,” Tate said. “That’s exciting. Especially coming from a run-heavy offense where all the notoriety went to the defense, I’m super excited about that opportunity, but I see myself being a great complement to Calvin [Johnson] and him being a great complement to myself.”
The former Seahawk had a career year in 2013 as he had 64 receptions for 898 yards and become one of the best punt returners in the NFL as he averaged 11.5 yards per return in 51 chances.
“I had a great four years in Seattle, and I’m going to miss that place to death,” Tate said. “Great city. Great people. Great fans. But for me, it just made more sense to come here. I could see a ton of upside in the vision this organization has and that I have is all the same, and I’m excited to just be a part of something special.”
– Quarterback Josh McCown will compete for the starting job in Tampa Bay after he signed a reported two-year, $10 million deal with the Buccaneers on Wednesday.
According to ESPN.com, McCown will make $4.75 million in 2014-15 and $5.25 million in 2015-16. He is also guaranteed $4.75 million and can earn up to $5 million more in incentives for playing time and making the playoffs.
Last season, McCown played in eight games for the Bears and came away with three wins in five starts. He set a team record during a Nov. 24 loss to the Rams when he had 36 completions.
– The Jets have replaced right tackle Austin Howard with former Seattle tackle Breno Giacomini.
New York announced the deal just after the story broke that Darelle Revis signed with the Patriots. The terms of the deal are not yet available.
Giacomini started in nine games last season and missed seven because of a knee injury.
– Jacoby Jones and the Ravens have agreed to a reported four-year, $12 million contract.
Jones, who was one of the heroes of the team’s Super Bowl victory in 2013, was visiting with the Giants when he made the deal with Baltimore. The receiver had 37 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns last season.