Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS -- Saints coach Sean Payton sent one versatile running back packing in a trade that picked up legs late Wednesday night.
Late Thursday, he welcomed another.
Former Chargers running back Darren Sproles has agreed to a two-year contract with the Saints, the free agent told the Associated Press.
Sproles told the AP in an e-mail that he's a Saint now and "can't wait to get started."
The NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora says the contract is a four-year deal worth $14 million with $6 million gauranteed. FOXSports.com's Alex Marvez first reported the move.
The Saints were in need of a matchup-rich running back after trading former No. 2 overall pick Reggie Bush to Miami Thursday morning.
“I think he (Sproles) is an exceptional talent. He is very versatile and dynamic,” Payton said Thursday during his pre-training camp news conference, but before the team had agreed to terms with the running back.
Since taking over as the kick returner for San Diego, Sproles (5-foot-6, 190 pounds) hasn’t finished with fewer than 1,008 return yards.
Throughout his career, which began in 2005 out of Kansas State, Sproles has been a more of a threat in the passing game, recording 11 touchdown receptions to just six rushing scores.
Payton said there was never an idea to find someone to replace Bush, though he admitted their skill sets were very similar.
“I don’t necessarily think that we turned around and targeted a different player that would be like Reggie,” Payton said.