Just minutes after former Seahawks safety Earl Thomas and the Ravens agreed to terms on a four-year deal, it was announced that the Ravens had also agreed to terms on a three-year, $15 million deal with former Saints running back Mark Ingram.
Just like all of the other free agent deals around the NFL, both of these signings will not be made official or announced by teams until 4:00 pm this afternoon.
Ingram, 29, was the 28th overall pick by the Saints in the 2011 draft out of Alabama. A two-time Pro Bowler, Ingram has accumulated 6,007 career rushing yards (4.5 yards-per-carry) with 50 touchdowns. As a receiver, Ingram owns 1,598 career yards (228 catches, 7.0 yards-per-reception) and five touchdowns.
Over the past two seasons in New Orleans, Ingram split playing time with Alvin Kamara, who the Saints took in the third round of the 2017 draft. Ingram continued to serve as the primary back during Kamara’s rookie season, but last year Kamara excelled as a dual-threat in both the run and pass game, taking over as the #1 running back in New Orleans.
Here’s a breakdown of Ingram and Kamara’s contributions to the Saints offense over the last two years.
|2018||2,025 rush yards, 26 TD|
4,174 receiving yards, 33 TD
|645 rushing yards (138 car), 6 TD|
170 receiving yards (21 rec), 1 TD
|883 rush yards (194 car), 14 TD|
709 receiving yards (81 rec), 4 TD
|2017||2,070 rush yards, 23 TD|
4,334 receiving yards, 23 TD
|1,124 rushing yards (230 car), 12 TD|
416 receiving yards (58 rec)
|728 rushing yards (120 car), 8 TD|
826 receiving yards (81 rec), 5 TD
With Ingram approaching the dreaded age of 30 and Kamara contributing more in the rushing game last year, the writing was on the wall for Ingram to find a new home in free agency. According to ESPN‘s Dianna Russini, the Saints extended an offer to Ingram but the Ravens offered more money.
The Ravens entered the offseason in desperate need of offensive play-makers. General Manager Eric Decosta said that the Ravens would target offensive skill position players in either free agency or the draft. Over the last few days Baltimore became linked to ex-Steeler Le’Veon Bell, but the Ravens never extended Bell as offer and the running back signed with the New York Jets on a four-year, $52.5 million deal.
Ingram isn’t as big of a name as Bell and he’s two years older, but he’s the type of player the Ravens needed to add to this offense. At this point in Ingram’s career, he’s better off cutting back the amount of hits he takes by working in a running back committee. Ingram and Kamara made up a dynamic tandem in New Orleans. Now Ingram can go from a two-headed monster to a three-headed monster along with Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon.
Not only does Ingram fit into the Ravens system featuring multiple running backs, but he can serve as a mentor to Edwards, Dixon, and even Lamar Jackson. As of now, the only other offensive player on the Ravens roster that’s been in the NFL longer than Ingram is Marshal Yanda.
Edwards, Dixon, and even Alex Collins are examples of young running backs who gave the Ravens a spark during certain periods, but this young running back group lacked leadership in 2018. Hopefully adding Ingram to the fold will help Edwards and Dixon take their game to the next level.
The Ravens still have a lot of work to do on their offense. Both the offensive line and wide receiver positions need multiple upgrades and the Ravens also need a backup quarterback. More moves could be made in free agency throughout the week, but don’t look for the Ravens to overspend on a guy like Golden Tate.
The Ravens roster lost a lot of talent this week, and some fans began to panic. As always, some names in the media told everyone to remain calm. Then like usual, the Ravens eased some of the tension with two big-name signings, and they didn’t need to break the bank. Hopefully this trend continues and the Ravens continue to retool their roster in the smartest ways possible.
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