- Chris Mortensen, NFL reporter
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With LaDainian Tomlinson's career in San Diego declared all but over and Darren Sproles facing free agency, the Chargers are exploring possible trade scenarios that include dealing cornerback Antonio Cromartie to acquire a running back, according to league sources.
Cromartie is a four-year starter, a former first-round draft pick and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007 when he intercepted 10 passes. Sources have said he has fallen out of favor with the Chargers, who also have a pair of corners in Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason who were first-round picks.
The Chargers' most pressing offseason need is in the offensive backfield. Tomlinson declared shortly after the season that he believed his nine-year career with the Chargers is finished. He expects to be released shortly. Sproles is a pending restricted free agent who would be due $7.3 million in 2010 if the Chargers tender him a contract, a 10 percent increase over his 2009 franchise-tag salary of $6.67 million. Sproles has said he intends to test the market but expressed a preference to remain in San Diego.
Among the teams that have running back depth are the Dallas Cowboys with Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice at the position. Several teams are looking for cornerback depth, including the Green Bay Packers, sources said.
The Chargers may be willing to trade Cromartie for a draft choice that could give them more flexibility to select at least one running back in this year's draft, sources said.
Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.
10hEric D. Williams