The New Orleans Saints boasted some of the top positional skill players in the league on offense in 2018. Quarterback Drew Brees continues to play at a high level, even at his advanced age. Michael Thomas has also become a household name, cementing his name in the conversation of best wide receivers in the game. Alvin Kamara continued to flourish in his sophomore season, racking up over 1,500 yards from scrimmage. Even with those big names in the offense, running back Mark Ingram still made his mark on the team and will be a top prospect heading into this season’s free agency period.
Potential Landing Spots For Free Agent Mark Ingram
Ingram missed the first four games of the season due to a PED violation. This left the backfield all to rising star Kamara for the first few games, and he literally took the ball and ran with it. Kamara totaled over 100 yards from scrimmage in three out of four games (he had 99 in week two) and totaled six touchdowns during that span. Many wondered if Ingram was still going to have a role when he returned.
But he did. Ingram received a healthy 16 carries in his first game back, punching two of them in for touchdowns. Despite Kamara’s insane talent and versatility, the coaching staff knew that Ingram was just too talented to keep off the field. Though he split time with Kamara, Ingram still had two games with over 100 yards rushing. He finished with a healthy 4.7 yards-per-carry, looking as fast and powerful as ever. There will be plenty of suitors for his services.
It is no secret that Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden likes his veteran players. The team signed a 33-year old Jordy Nelson last offseason and kept then-31-year-old Marshawn Lynch as the lead back. Gruden also hand-picked Doug Martin for the backup role, and gave him the lead back job when Lynch went down for the year. With Lynch not likely to return, and Martin also a free agent, the Raiders could look to Ingram to fill that role. Martin looked better than many expected while filling in for Lynch, but he has a habit of following up good seasons with bad ones, so the Silver and Black could opt to go for the more consistent Ingram instead.
Coming into the twilight of his career, Ingram likely wants to play for a contender. The Houston Texans would be his best bet in that case. Lamar Miller has basically been the definition of pedestrian in his time with Houston. The team would free up a good amount of cap space if they release him. Ingram would add a lot more power to the offense than Miller offered, and would certainly benefit himself by having the dual-threat ability of Deshaun Watson as his quarterback. This would honestly be the ideal situation for both teams.
Last Word on Free Agent Mark Ingram
Ingram has expressed interest in staying with the Saints, but that is an unlikely situation. With a young, spry, and cheap Kamara on his rookie deal, the Saints are not going to be willing to pay Ingram the type of money that he wants. Still, even though he will be 30 years old next season, Ingram showed that he can still play at a high level in this league. There will be plenty of teams who do not have a young stud on their roster like the Saints do, and be willing to pay Ingram what he wants so that he can cash in on one last contract.
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