4 players the Chargers gave up on way too soon

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3. Darren Sproles

The Chargers have had a lot of talented running backs this century. Nobody will ever come close to LaDainian Tomlinson, who is one of the greatest running backs in NFL history and has the single-greatest season for a running back.

But there has still been talent. Darren Sproles first emerged late in Tomlinson's career and was the hero in the 2008 playoffs when he scored the game-winning touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts. While he was not an every-down back, Sproles had a lot of value for what he offered to the team.

But he did not offer enough to warrant the Chargers giving him a fair pay day. Despite doing everything he could to get a new contract from the Bolts, the team ultimately let him test free agency in 2011. That is when he signed a four-year, $14 million contract with the New Orleans Saints.

Sproles went on to have a long career that made his tenure with the Chargers look like a brief chapter. He would spend three seasons in New Orleans before spending six more years with the Philadelphia Eagles. There, he was a three-time Pro Bowler for his contributions on special teams.

Sproles could have made the early-2010s Chargers better if he was a complementary back to Ryan Mathews, who was really good in 2011 after Sproles left but could never recapture that form.