As it turns out, New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles has not been released and is still with the team. The Saints aren't planning on sticking with him in 2014, however, and Sproles is now likely to be traded, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
It was initially thought that Sproles had been released due to a lack of interest -- the prevailing theory was that teams knew Sproles would be released and that they would therefore be unwilling to give up draft picks or players for his services.
You can't blame anyone for thinking he was released, though. The news that Sproles would be traded was unknown even to him -- he retweeted that news from ESPN, saying "WOW!" and followed that up with another tweet:
The stuff u find out on twitter— Darren Sproles (@DarrenSproles) March 11, 2014
So either ESPN and Schefter are wrong, or the Saints have not been entirely upfront with Sproles about their plans. Sproles has spent three seasons with the Saints, and has been an instrumental tool in one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL. He's caught at least 71 passes in each of his three years with the team.
Sproles will carry a cap hit of $3.5 million in 2014, and that's money the Saints would like to devote elsewhere. Tight end Jimmy Graham is going to command top dollar with his new contract, and New Olreans needs to free up all the cap space it can. Getting some kind of compensation for Sproles while doing so would only be a bonus. It just sounds like he would like to be ... you know, in the loop on these things.