Mark Ingram hints he may not be back with Saints in 2019
Mark Ingram is set to become a free agent next month if he does not agree to a contract extension with the New Orleans Saints before that, and this may be the running back’s last chance to cash in on a big deal. Not surprisingly, he seems to realize that might mean playing for a new team.
During an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” last week, Ingram said he feels like he is “better than ever” heading into his ninth NFL season. He also said his goal now is to win a Super Bowl, but he understands that the Saints may not be willing to pay him the most money.
“It’s kind of like a thing where they say they want me back, I say, ‘I want to be back,’ it’s just can we compromise on the value?” Ingram said, as transcribed by Mark Inabinett of The Times-Picayune. “Like I said, I’ve been there my entire career. It’s very rare that someone gets to spend their career in one place, and that would be something that would be significant. But at the same time, I’m not afraid to bet on myself. I believe in my opportunity.”
While Ingram emphasized that he and his family have been very happy in New Orleans, he knows he’s going to have to continue to split time with Alvin Kamara if he re-signs. He said he would like an opportunity to be a “feature guy” and feels sharing carries has kept him fresher than the averaged 29-year-old back.
“(Todd) Gurley’s played four years, and I think I only have 200 more carries than him. Le’Veon Bell’s played six years, I only have 90 more carries than him, and he missed this whole year,” Ingram said. “So he’d probably have more than me. So my age — I am 29 — but at the same time I feel like the wear and tear I’ve had on my body is minimal, and I feel like my best years — I’ve still got four more years, at least, of playing elite football for somebody.”
Ingram rushed for just 645 yards in 2018, but he was suspended for the first four games of the season for performance-enhancing drug use. He’s been relatively healthy throughout his career, so it would not be a surprise if a team spent big on him this offseason.