Saints RB Mark Ingram has major contract incentive within reach
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram is in the midst of a career year.
The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Alabama entered Week 12 with 155 carries for 806 yards and a league-high 8 touchdowns and 34 receptions for 213 yards.
Ingram has a realistic chance at making a run at the 2017 NFL rushing title, and appears to be well on his way to earning All-Pro honors for the first time in his seven-year professional career.
If he does end up being named to the 2017 All-Pro team, the 27-year-old running back stands to profit massively.
According to Mike Triplett of ESPN, if Ingram is named first-team All-Pro, his contract will be voided and he will become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
Mark Ingram would become a free agent if he’s named first-team All-Pro. He’s a bit of a long shot. But if he does in the next 6 games what he’s done in the last 6, he’ll finish with 1,442 rushing yards and 16 TDs https://t.co/mkZvRj3jI4
— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) November 25, 2017
At his current pace, Ingram will finish the season with 1,290 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns, 55 receptions, and 341 receiving yards. Those numbers would likely be good enough to earn Ingram second-team All-Pro honors at the very least. Given that the bulk of Ingram’s production has come in his last six games, there is a very strong chance that he could actually exceed his projected numbers.
If he does enough to earn first-team All-Pro honors, Ingram stands to land a massive pay raise next offseason.
His current contract is scheduled to pay him $4.6 million (base salary and bonuses) in 2018, whereas a market-rate deal for a player of his caliber would likely be worth $8-9 million per season.
Regardless of how this situation plays out, Ingram has a strong case for getting a new contract (his current deal expires following the 2018 season) from the Saints next offseason.
For Ingram, his success and expanded role in the Saints’ offense this season have been extremely satisfying.
“I’ve always known it. I’ve always had that belief in myself, I’ve always had that confidence in myself,” Ingram told Triplett this week. “I just feel like I needed the opportunity to be able to present myself. Those guys [Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell and Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson] are always on the field all the time. I just feel like given the same situation I could produce the same way. Those are elite players. It motivates you. And I always believed in myself that I’d be able to accomplish those kinds of numbers and those kinds of accolades if I had the opportunity.”