The New Orleans Saints’ running back combination of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram has been one of their staples in recent years, but that will be no more after Ingram agreed to sign with the Baltimore Ravens in free agency.
That news, while not unexpected, was a real downer for Kamara, who paid tribute to his departing teammate on Twitter after the news broke.
The news of Ingram’s deal came just minutes after it was reported that the Ravens have signed All-Pro safety Earl Thomas to a massive four-year deal.
Ingram, 29, should get a chance to serve as the featured back in Baltimore. It became clear that the New Orleans Saints were moving on from him when they agreed to a deal with Latavius Murray on Tuesday, and Ingram hinted earlier in the offseason that he wanted a chance to not split carries with Alvin Kamara. The former Alabama star will get that with the Ravens.
The Saints already have Alvin Kamara as their primary back, and Ingram is seeking a lot more than $14 million on the open market. Murray has been an effective power back with the Minnesota Vikings when given opportunities, so Sean Payton likely envisions him playing the same role in New Orleans.
Ingram recently acknowledged that he may not be back with the Saints, and that is probably best for all parties. He’s 29 and wants a chance to be a featured back, which is something he’s not going to get in New Orleans.
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.
The New Orleans Saints appear to be enjoying the fact that they’ve knocked the Philadelphia Eagles out of the playoffs.
Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara both wore ski masks in the locker room after New Orleans beat Philadelphia 20-14 Sunday, a reference to a trend the Eagles tried to get going late in the season as a rallying cry.
It’s a pretty obvious reference to the Eagles encouraging fans to wear ski masks as a reference to the team “stealing” games to get into the playoffs. The Saints were obviously well aware of this and came prepared to celebrate their victory by rubbing a little salt in the wound.
The Saints advance to face the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship, where there will be other scores to settle. The taunting may not be over.
The New Orleans Saints have cut running back Mike Gillislee to make room for Mark Ingram on the roster.
Gillislee was cut by the New England Patriots before the season began and was signed by New Orleans shortly thereafter. He began playing in Week 1 but lost a fumble in a loss to Tampa Bay. He had just 43 yards on 16 carries in four games for the Saints.
Ingram is returning to the team following a four-game PED suspension. The 2011 first-round pick had over 1,500 total yards last season and 12 touchdowns. But with Alvin Kamara playing as well as he has, it’s unlikely for Ingram to steal a ton of work from the second-year sensation.
Mark Ingram has been suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but the New Orleans Saints running back insists he is innocent.
In a statement he released through his agents on Wednesday, Ingram said the substance which he tested positive for is not on the NFL’s banned substance list, and he is looking forward to the appeals process.
A statement from suspended #Saints RB Mark Ingram, who is “vigorously” challenging the positive test result through the arbitration process. pic.twitter.com/GuoFzNLVAT
NFL players typically lose out when challenging positive tests, but stranger things have happened. Ingram’s defense sounds like it will be similar to the one we saw from another star player earlier in the offseason.
The Saints should be able to get by with Alvin Kamara as their primary back if Ingram is out for four games, but their two-headed monster was one of the biggest reasons they had such a great season in 2017. Ingram rushed for a career-high 1,124 yards and scored 12 touchdowns, so his production will be missed.