The run-happy Ravens have padded their backfield with one of the game’s top available veterans.
Baltimore on Wednesday reached a three-year, $15 million deal with Mark Ingram, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The deal came down moments after the Ravens struck a massive four-year deal with star safety Earl Thomas.
The 29-year-old Ingram moves north after eight productive seasons as a hard-running centerpiece for the Saints. New Orleans and the one-time first-rounder failed to settle on a new contract, leaving the Saints to sign former Vikings and Raiders back Latavius Murray — and Ingram to test the market.
Rapoport had previously noted the Bears and Packers showed interest in Ingram, but the Ravens present a natural fit.
With Lamar Jackson under center, Baltimore leaned on the run to near-historic levels in 2018, passing the ball less than 38 percent after the rookie took over in Week 11. Along the way, Jackson set a single-season mark for carries by a quarterback — in just seven starts — but he wasn’t the only workhorse.
Gus Edwards provided consistent numbers down the stretch and now links with Ingram as a one-two punch for the Ravens. Baltimore also houses fourth-year back Kenneth Dixon after releasing Alex Collins earlier this month.
Running at 4.5 yards per pop over his career, Ingram unfurled 1,000-yard campaigns in 2016 and 2017 before finishing with 645 yards last autumn. Teaming brilliantly with Alvin Kamara over the past two seasons, Ingram gave the Saints an early down hammer who also helped as a pass-catcher. He remains one of the game’s more ferocious backs. Beyond the on-field talent, the former Heisman-winning Alabama star has long been lauded as a locker room favorite, with legions of Saints players vocally bemoaning Ingram’s departure.
This is a free-agent addition that makes mounds of sense for a Ravens attack that looms as a favorite to lead the AFC in rushing attempts in 2019.