San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - The San Diego Chargers have placed the franchise player tag on running back Darren Sproles.
Sproles was designated a "non-exclusive" franchise player, meaning that the 25-year-old is eligible to negotiate with other teams. If Sproles were to receive a contract offer from another club, the Chargers can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.
In accordance with the non-exclusive designation, the Kansas State product received a one-year contract offer from the Chargers worth the average of the top five highest-paid running backs in the league.
"Darren has been a valuable contributor to our team, both on offense and special teams," said Chargers general manager A.J. Smith. "He is a young and improving player. We expect we'll utilize his many talents as we have in the past and he'll be a valuable asset in the coming season."
Sproles amassed 330 yards on 61 carries and ran for a touchdown during the 2008 regular season. He also had 29 receptions for 342 yards and five touchdowns in sharing the load with a hobbled LaDainian Tomlinson last season.