Mark Ingram, RB
Dec 21, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) carries the ball as Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant (21) defends during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
This might be considered a bit of cheating, but I believe Mark Ingram is the lone priority on players to re-sign for the Saints this offseason. Of the scheduled players set to hit free agency for the team, Ingram is the one player I would see the Saints truly pursuing. The team has already made a couple of subtle moves, parting ways with Cheta Ozougwu, re-signing veterans Luke McCown, Shayne Graham, Parys Haralson, and locking up exclusive rights free agent Senio Kelemete.
Ingram has improved drastically season over season, and his hard work this year helped him get into the Pro Bowl as a replacement.
While the Saints aren’t primarily known for their rushing attack, Ingram had a large hand in helping the team average 113.6 rushing yards/game. The Saints boasted the league’s 13th best rushing attack, and when I say boast, it was a perfect complement to the 3rd best passing attack (297.8 yards passing/game). The Saints would not have been the league’s top offense had it not been for the work of Ingram.
While other running backs Pierre Thomas, Khiry Robinson, and Travaris Cadet had a hand in helping, Ingram shouldered the bulk of the load, and nearly became the Saints first 1,000-yard rusher since Deuce McAllister did so in 2006.
He’ll look to cash in on a relatively large pay-day, and the Dallas Cowboys are among the rumored teams to be a heavy suitor for Ingram. However, after finishing 14th in the league among rushers, what type of pay can Ingram realistically expect? I get the feeling that Ingram would at least figure to have a $4-5 million figure per year, and is arguably deserving of that.
The bigger question remains as to whether the Saints would flirt with the idea of paying him, or invest elsewhere. One thing is certain, he’s earned it. If he does walk, then how comfortable do you feel with second-year back Khiry Robinson carrying the load?
Which free agents do you feel the Saints should target? Do you agree with our list? Sound off below!