To Trade, Or Not To Trade? That Is The Ingram Question


Aug 16, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Is Ingram to blame? Is it really the offensive line’s fault? Did he really request a trade? Will he last through the Week 6 trade deadline? Is Khiry Robinson in a position to become the 3rd down back?

That’s just some of the burning questions we have.

Mark Ingram is ‘under fire’ after a recent report of him alledgedly requesting a trade from the Saints. Coach Sean Payton is squelching rumors of a trade, saying the reports are ‘completely false’ and have ‘zero credibility’. Whether that’s the case or not, it’s something that needs to end quickly for the organization. Distractions are the last thing you need with the huge tasks at hand upcoming (playing a string of undefeated teams).

Ingram isn’t helping his case either, as local media team | The Times-Picayune attempted to talk with Ingram all of last week through the Saints, but despite all efforts, he never made himself available to speak. The article that Jason La Canfora was more suggestive than anything. His article  indirectly stated that Ingram was requesting a trade (although the Twitter Tweet said otherwise), but that he could be looking closely at what the Browns did with Trent Richardson.

Let’s just look at this for a second. Here’s the list of 1st Round Picks the Saints have had under the Sean Payton Era, and then some brief hits on their stint with the Saints.

2006 – Reggie Bush (#2)

  • 2005 Heisman Trophy Winner
  • Spent 4 seasons with the Saints (2006-2010)
  • Was traded on 7/28/11 to Miami in exchange for Jonathan Amaya & the teams swapped 6th Round Picks
  • Controversy over Heisman/USC Matters in 2010, broken bone in foot which made Bush miss 6 weeks 

2007 – Robert Meachem (#27)

  • Spent 5 seasons with the Saints (2007-2012)
  • Missed his rookie season in 2007 due to a knee injury
  • Left in Free Agency for the Chargers on 3/13/12, and was later cut on 9/1/13, just after one season with the Chargers
  • Back with the Saints currently

2008 – Sedrick Ellis (#7)

  • Spent 4 seasons with the Saints (2008-2012)
  • Never lived up to the hype of a Top 10 pick
  • Left in Free Agency for the Bears on 6/11/13, and on 7/25/13, officially announced his intention to retire from the NFL

2009 – Malcolm Jenkins (#14)

  • Has spent all seasons with the Saints (currently set to become a free agent in in the offseason)
  • Saints defensive captain
  • Transitioned from Cornerback to Safety (and it’s been a good one)
  • Bowtie Aficionado

2010 – Patrick Robinson (#32)

  • Has spent all seasons with the Saints (will become a free agent in 2015)
  • Recently placed on injured reserve with a torn patellar tendon
  • Missed 6 games in his first 2 seasons

2011 – Cameron Jordan (#24)

  • Has spent all seasons with the Saints (will become a free agent in 2015)
  • Son to former NFL Player, Steve Jordan (Tight End with the Vikings for all of his 12 years)
  • Started in a 4-3 defensive scheme (they ran a 3-4 in Cal)
  • Making serious buzz in Rob Ryan’s scheme, drawing JJ Watt-like comparisons.

2011 – Mark Ingram (#28)

  • 2009 Heisman Trophy Winner
  • Has spent all seasons with the Saints (will become a free agent in 2015)
  • Son to former NFL Player, Mark Ingram Sr. (best known for his Wide Receiver stint with the Giants, played 9 seasons with 4 different teams)

2013 – Kenny Vaccaro (#15)

  • Signed a four year contract as a rookie
  • Quick Analysis: Watch and grow, but we’ve already seen him play in every snap this season, and his performance speaks for itself

Is there just a gris-gris over first round Saints draft picks? Maybe. Call it the ‘curse of Mike Ditka’ if you will. If you go back even further, the Saints best 1st round pick since the beginning of the decade would have to have been Deuce McAllister (2001). I can’t even put arguably behind that, because Deuce’s team records alone speak for himself. As for the years to follow, the Saints drafted Donte Stallworth & Charles Grant (2002), Jonathan Sullivan (2003), Will Smith (2004), & Jammal Brown (2005).

If you can believe this, there have been ZERO Pro-Bowlers out of the Saints first round picks in the Sean Payton Era. In fact, the last one to fit that critera was Jammal Brown (in order of recently drafted). Will Smith & Deuce McAllister were also Pro-Bowlers.

Here’s the sad, but true facts when it comes to Ingram:

  • Ingram has never had a 100 yard rushing game in his career with the Saints.
  • His best game came last year against the Bucs (14-90-TD-6.4 AVG). It’s hard to count the 2011 62-7 thrashing of the Colts, but Ingram did have similar production (14-91-6.5 AVG).
  • He’s been fed the ball as many as 21 times (last season against Dallas), and had 53 yards (2.5 AVG) with a score to show for it.
  • Ingram has only had 7 career games in which he had over a 4.0 yards per carry average
  • In 2011, Ingram had 6 games in which he was fed the ball 10 or more times (it’s actually more like 13+), and 3 games where he was fed the ball 9 times
  • In 2012, Ingram had 8 games in which he was fed the ball 10 or more times
  • Ingram’s 4 year, $7.417M contract is in guaranteed money, with nearly $4M included as a signing bonus.

You can almost trace the ‘Ingram thing’ back to the opening game against Green Bay in 2011, where Ingram was called on to punch it in from the 1 yard line on the game’s final play to at least put the Saints in a position to tie the game (assuming they’d get the 2 point conversion), but he was stuffed.

I’ve heard some talk or flack about the ‘lack of’ job Pierre Thomas did yesterday against the Cardinals in the run game, with his 11 carries for 28 yards. Here’s what those fail to see, or choose to ignore: 6 catches for 39 yards. Despite that, he’s had 25 carries (8 more than Ingram), and pulled off 4 yards/carry.

The argument could even be made about Khiry Robinson playing yesterday, that he was just a virtually unknown, and teams didn’t know about him. However, the line still helped him produce.

Thomas went undrafted in 2007, and Robinson went undrafted this season. The Saints in general have a tremendous track record in regards to undrafted players. That in itself is an article.

However, the fact remains, as a 1st round draft pick, you have a huge burden on your shoulders, and you are expected to produce. The Saints fans have a great memory, and to suggest that everyone stacks up to Deuce McAllister is really not far off base, especially if you are a running back. Let’s just also say that when you’re already guaranteed $7.47M, a return on investment is expected.

We will have to see what happens this week, and believe me, we will watch it intently. I alluded to it in my Keys to the Game Article, and it’s worth repeating again. If Ingram does indeed play Monday Night against the Dolphins, he could very well get booed if he doesn’t get it going (shades of Aaron Brooks & Jason David) on the ground. To even begin to think what price tag Ingram would go for is all over the board. Just remember though, Mickey Loomis & company received a 4th Round Pick for Chris Ivory, which was in turn used to draft John Jenkins.

For the record, I have long been a Mark Ingram supporter. I thought he would bring a special element to the run game (complete the ‘Hydra’ attack if you will), and even if he does or doesn’t get traded this season, it could be his last as a Saint, unless something absolutely crazy happens. By crazy? Ingram starts blowing it up.

However, it may be too little, too late.

Is Mark Ingram done in the Big Easy? What team would benefit most from Ingram should he be traded? What type of price tag would he command? Let us know your thoughts!

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