How much do the New Orleans Saints miss Mark Ingram?

3 of 3

Ingram’s future in New Orleans

Mark Ingram
NEW ORLEANS, LA – DECEMBER 24: Mark Ingram #22 of the New Orleans Saints scores a touchdown during the second half of a game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 24, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Ingram knows that and will be looking to get some of what he didn’t get last time. I think he knows that $9-10 million is not on the table at all and he may not get that anywhere. He’s 28 years old currently.

30 years old is when running back production numbers drop immensely. So it’s possible no one will want to sign him for more than three years, including the Saints.

Ingram didn’t do himself any favors by failing a drug test and missing these four games on league suspension. Anyone who wears the albatross of a drug suspension will have a tough time down the road getting the deal they want (see: Kenny Vaccaro).

The suspension combined with his advancing age will make it tough for Ingram to get a four-year deal worth in the ballpark of $30 million (a baseline guesstimate of what he might be looking to take, not what he really wanted before the suspension). It’s hard to justify paying a running back over thirty $7-8 million a year.

It’s also likely the Saints would have been looking to shop Ingram. The Gillislee deal was probably the first drop in the bucket of looking for a long-term replacement for Ingram. It’s not been a secret that the Saints would likely look to trade Ingram this season. The success of Kamara and the need down the road to pay him and Michael Thomas as cornerstones of your franchise made whatever money Ingram was looking for problematic. Anything more than an extra million on top of what he’s making would make keeping him difficult.

Now comes the tricky part. The Saints offense is different without Ingram. So far, what we’ve seen of the running game is puke-worthy. Whether it’s running backs not hitting holes as they should, or the line being inefficient, or a combination, it’s hard to tell. But suffice it to say 105 yards in two games is not getting it done in the running game.

Yes, it was bad for Ingram overall to miss the first four games. But maybe him not being here may put him in the catbird seat for negotiating his deal. The Saints may be in the unenviable position of needing him, and thus resigning him to a deal that’s not in the team’s best interest, simply because their other options aren’t very good. As well, the team may have to simply come to the realization that Mark Ingram IS a better than average back and you can’t replace him with just anyone.

Next. P.J. Williams to start over Ken Crawley against Falcons. dark

Either way, Monday, Oct. 1 can’t come soon enough. That’s the day the suspension will be done, and Ingram can rejoin the team in preparation for our first game with him back. That a Monday night contest in the Superdome against the Redskins. Should be a tremendous night – especially if we can run the ball well.