Hester and Sproles are nice dreams for Chiefs fans, but…
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — So, it probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Chiefs to be spending money on a part-time player such as Devin Hester, even if he is the greatest return man of all time.
But hey, if you want to dream a little, remember that the man who made Hester famous, special teams coach Dave Toub, is employed over at One Arrowhead Drive.
Hester, as you probably know, won’t be re-signing with the Chicago Bears. And that, of course, is leading to speculation of a Hester-Toub reunion.
Even Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network recently tweeted, "As we look at potential landing spots for Devin Hester, consider he’s still very close with #Chiefs ST coach Dave Toub from their Chi days."
Is it realistic? Probably not. Hester, now 31, still has some shake to his game. He averaged 27.6 yards on kickoff returns last season and 14.2 on punt returns. He also had an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown, giving him 19 touchdown returns, tying him with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders for the NFL record.
And the Chiefs might be in the market for a return man if they choose not to re-sign pending free agents Dexter McCluster, who made the Pro Bowl as a punt returner last season, and Quintin Demps.
But finances certainly would be a concern. Hester just finished up a four-year, $21.95 million deal with the Bears. And while he certainly won’t command that kind of money anymore, it’s hard to imagine him signing for less than $2 million a year.
The other issue is McCluster is a better value because at least he is part of the offense. Hester didn’t play a single offensive snap last season.
That also brings us to the Darren Sproles angle. Sproles, who won’t be back with the Saints, certainly would be a nice story here considering his Kansas State roots.
But Sproles will be 31 before next season starts, and there is evidence that he is not the player he was just a few seasons ago.
We tend to remember the Sproles from 2011, when he set an NFL record with 2,696 all-purpose yards. In reality, Sproles is more like the player he was last season, when he had 1,273 all-purpose yards, a drop-off that had the Saints ready to move on.
And, of course, the biggest problem with signing either Hester or Sproles is that the Chiefs reportedly are up against the salary cap with perhaps less than $10 million of wiggle room. And they have plenty of their own free agents to worry about.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.