PHILADELPHIA - Any frustration running back Darren Sproles may have felt upon learning he was being traded by New Orleans melted as soon as he found out he was going to the Eagles.
In fact, he was so happy about the deal that he agreed to terms with the Eagles on Friday on a two-year contract extension that will keep him in a green No. 43 jersey through the 2016 season. Sproles is due to make $3.4 million this season. Terms of the extension were not announced.
"I wanted to be released because I just didn't want (the Saints) to trade me to somewhere I didn't want to be," Sproles said Friday during a news conference at the NovaCare Complex. "But once I found out where I was headed, I was excited. I think this offense will be a very good fit for what I do."
Sproles, who was traded in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, is considered one of the league's most versatile, dynamic offensive players.
Although officially listed as a running back, the 5-foot-6, 190-pounder may be even more valuable as a receiver. The 31-year-old caught 71 passes for the Saints last season and has 378 career receptions for 3,381 yards and 27 touchdowns in eight seasons with San Diego (five) and New Orleans (three).
"I'm a big Darren Sproles fan from back in his days with San Diego," ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski said earlier Friday during the Maxwell Club Football Awards luncheon at Revel Casino-Hotel. "He may be a running back, but he's a different kind of animal. That cat can play and he's a beast in the open field. No one can touch him in space.
"I liked the way the Saints used him. They hid him behind (tight end) Jimmy Graham and let him run. He was beating safeties and cornerbacks because of his speed and quickness. I think he's a great acquisition for the Eagles. He's another offensive weapon that (Eagles quarterback) Nick Foles will have at his disposal."
Sproles joins a talent-laded attack that already features NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy, wide receivers DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, and tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz.
"We think LeSean is a special, special player," Kelly said Friday night at the Maxwell Awards. "But we had the opportunity to add a great player to complement him in Darren, who is also a dynamic returner."
The challenge for Eagles coach Chip Kelly will be to give everyone enough touches to keep them happy.
"I think everything will be fine," Sproles said. "Watching them from a distance, the Eagles do a lot of good things. I feel like I'll be able to really help them by getting some carries and running (pass) routes."
Sproles is used to being part of a rotation, having served that role with former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego and with Pierre Thomas in New Orleans.
This season, he'll be the primary backup for McCoy while third-year running backs Bryce Brown and Chris Polk vie for the No. 3 spot. He joins an Eagles offense that ranked second in the league in 2013 in yards per game (417.2) while also scoring a franchise-record 442 points.
McCoy rushed for a team-record 1,607 yards, but Kelly did a good job of spreading the ball around in the passing game. Jackson (82), McCoy (52) and Cooper (42) all had more than 40 receptions. Wide receiver Jason Avant, who was released last week, had 38 catches. Ertz and Celek had 36 and 32, respectively.
"I think (the offense) can be really crazy," Sproles said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."
Extra point: Jaworski was not as thrilled with the Eagles' decision to sign one of Sproles' former Saints teammates. Safety Malcolm Jenkins inked a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Eagles on Tuesday, the first day of the free agency signing period.
By signing Jenkins, the Eagles passed on higher-rated free agent safeties such as Jarius Byrd, T.J. Ward and Mike Mitchell. Byrd will be replacing Jenkins in New Orleans, Ward signed with Denver and Mitchell went to Pittsburgh.
"I think they got only the fourth-best guy available at the safety position," Jaworski said. "But it's still an upgrade over what they had. He's a converted corner, so he has coverage skills. He's not going to bend somebody's facemask with big hits, but he can get guys to the ground."
Obviously, Kelly had a different view.
He regards Jenkins as sort of a defensive version of Sproles, a versatile player who can contribute at a number of positions.
"Some guys out there (in free agency) are very, very talented players," Kelly said. "But for what we're trying to do defensively, Malcolm is the perfect fit."
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