Mark Ingram’s been the topic of some recent rumors regarding the Saints plans to backup Max Unger.
But I’d stake whatever rep I have on the subject: the Saints won’t trade Mark Ingram for a backup center. Not with the Eagles, not with anyone.
The rumor is coming out of the Eagles camp. Normally that’s standard procedure: a fanbase decides they’d like to have a player, and blogs start writing about how they might acquire them. The problem here, which necessitated this article, is that the rumors took on a larger authority. Articles began sprouting up that the Saints and the Eagles were in the midst of trade talks. But don’t believe the hype.
The Saints won’t trade Ingram for a backup center for plenty of reasons.
First and foremost among them is that Ingram is still a valuable asset to this team. Bleacher/Report stirred the pot a bit by speculating that the Saints might cut Ingram this offseason. That’s even less likely. From the outside looking in, you can understand why all this sudden doubt around Ingram’s future in New Orleans. First Adrian Peterson, then Alvin Kamara. But remember, Peterson is the backup. And even if he can return to form, what chance is there that he can stay healthy? And as for Kamara, while he does look to be the Saints future starting back, he’s just a rookie. That starting job is a ways away.
But even if Ingram were expendable, why would they trade him for a player that most Eagles fans expect the team to cut this offseason? That’s why the rumors came up in the first place. They saw a need in New Orleans with Unger’s injury, knew they had a player that they wanted to cut, and figured, hey, maybe we can pull Ingram from them. We don’t want their discarded trash, thank you very much.
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Finally, even if Ingram were expendable and the Eagles had a competent player to offer, the Saints would have better options than a trade.
First off, there’s no telling how long Unger will be out. I can’t be sure, obviously, but I’d wager he begins the season on the roster, not on PUP. (If he starts the season on PUP, he’s unavailable until Week 7). But four months is a long time and Unger should have recovered by then.
Second, there are free agent options that undercut any need for a trade. First and foremost among them is Nick Mangold, on whom the Saints are undoubtedly doing their research as we speak.
And finally, the Saints have roster options behind Unger. Senio Kelemete projects to fill the role immediately, and Jack Allen and Cameron Tom are high-upside UDFAs that could compete for the job.