SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 12: Running back Darren Sproles #43 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball against safeties Eric Berry #29 and Kendrick Lewis #23 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium on December 12 2010 in San Diego California. the Chargers won 31-0. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The NFL offseason brings change for every team whether it's strengthening a position of weakness or releasing a player from a position of strength. If and when a new labor deal is done, that will be the case in the 2011 offseason as well.
Bill Williamson of ESPN.com recently noted that the San Diego Chargers running back group is a position of strength with Ryan Mathews, Mike Tolbert and Darren Sproles. One of those, Williamson writes, likely won't be back.
[Sproles] is a luxury player. Because Mathews and Tolbert are a big part of the Chargers' plans, I could see a situation where Sproles is allowed to leave in free agency. The Chargers almost allowed Sproles to leave during the previous season, but at the 11th hour, San Diego decided to give him the high tender.
So what does this have to do with the Kansas City Chiefs?
Well, reports shortly before the start of free agency last year connected Sproles and the Chiefs. Apparently, the Chiefs were planning to target Sproles in the NFL's open signing period before applying the "11th hour" tender.
With Sproles possibly headed to free agency this year, could the Chiefs be interested? That answer may lie with Thomas Jones and/or Dexter McCluster. The Chiefs didn't have either of those players on the roster when reports of their interest in Sproles came out. Both players, as of now, will be on the Chiefs in 2011.
The Chiefs interest in Sproles last year made sense because they needed another back to pair with Charles and needed a return man. Sproles could have filled both needs. But since the Chiefs have filled those holes since then it's unclear if they would have any interest in Sproles.
Assuming Jones is back, do the Chiefs have a need for Sproles?