After quietly watching the rest of the league go into a frenzy and seeing their own free agents leave for other teams, the Ravens have officially made their first splash of free agency. Baltimore has agreed to terms with former Saints running back Mark Ingram on a three-year, $15 million contract.
Former Saints’ RB Mark Ingram intends to sign a three-year, $15 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens, per @diannaESPN and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
This news comes after over a days worth of conflicting reports surrounding Le’Veon Bell, the Ravens, and the New York Jets. Baltimore had been linked to Ingram at the beginning of free agency but things were clouded by the possibility of the Ravens landing Bell, which intensified throughout the afternoon and evening on Tuesday.
However, the dust has finally settled and its Ingram, not Bell who will be joining the Ravens. This may be upsetting to some fans given the lust and shine that Bell brought on the free agent market, but Ingram is a pretty solid consolation prize.
Ingram, 29, is entering his ninth season in the NFL. In 106 career games, he’s turned 1,321 carries into just over 6,000 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns. He boasts an impressive yards per carry average of 4.5, however, over the past four seasons Ingram’s YPC has been as follows: 4.6, 5.1, 4.9, & 4.7.
While Ingram is considered a veteran by NFL standards, the workload he’s seen throughout his career hasn’t been too significant, especially compared to someone like Bell. Ingram has never exceeded 230 carries in any one season.
Last season, Ingram missed the first four games of the season after being suspended for PED use. However, this was the first time Ingram has ever been suspended or had any known run-ins with misconduct. Ingram has developed a reputation for being a leader and solid locker room presence.
While he only rushed for 645 yards last season in 12 games, he picked up 4.7 yards per carry and found the endzone six times. In the two years prior, Ingram eclipsed 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and totaled 18 rushing touchdowns with a 5.0 YPC average.
Ingram will also add a receiving element to the Ravens offense, which the team currently lacks in the backfield without Javorius Allen and Ty Montgomery. Between 2015-17, Ingram had at least 319 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons and averaged just over 50 receptions per season.
While he does possess pass-catching ability, Ingram is more a bruising, ground-and-pound type of runner than anything. So too is Gus Edwards, the Ravens incumbent leading rusher, which makes Ingra exact fit in the Ravens backfield a bit murky.
There’s more than enough time for this to be settled. However, the most likely scenario is that Ingram will see the majority of carries and play most third-down situations, while Edwards, and to a lesser extend Kenneth Dixon, are sprinkled into the rotation.
While the reactions to the acquisition of Ingram figure to be mixed, there’s no denying that Ingram is a talented player and makes the Ravens rushing attack even more dynamic. There’s still a chance they choose to add another running back in the draft, but the addition of Ingram gives them more flexibility to more pressing needs.
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