Ravens set to release veteran RB Mark Ingram
The Baltimore Ravens informed veteran running back Mark Ingram that he would be released on Tuesday, according to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The move would free up $5 million in cap space and give Ingram an opportunity to sign elsewhere immediately and give him a chance to catch on with a team still in the playoffs or at least get a jump start on free agency.
Ingram signed a three-year deal worth $15 million in the initial wave of free agency during the 2019 offseason and had a great first year with the team after spending the first eight years of his career with the New Orleans Saints after being drafted 28th overall out of Alabama in 2011.
In his first season as a Ravens, the 10-year vet became an immediate difference-maker on offense, an instant fan favorite, and a staple and vocal and leader in the locker room.
In 2019, he recorded over 1,200 yards from scrimmage including his third career 1,000 plus yard season, tied a franchise record for touchdowns from scrimmage, and was named to his third career Pro Bowl.
In addition to bringing his excellent veteran leadership to the table, Ingram consistently provided the entire team, not just the offense, with juice and energy on the field as well as on the sidelines during games and practices with his performance and words of encouragement as the unofficial/official hype man to pretty much every player on the team but especially reigning league MVP, Lamar Jackson.
Jackson had his best and one of the most historic seasons by a quarterback or any player for that matter in NFL history once Ingram arrived to aid his unanimous MVP campaign in his first year as the team’s full-time starter.
Ingram’s second year in Baltimore wasn’t nearly as productive from a statistical standpoint but he was still every bit as impactful as a leader, hype man, and mentor for players young and seasoned.
His work with rookie running back J.K. Dobbins in both virtual and physical meetings, in practice, off the field, and in games whether he was in uniform himself or not was an invaluable asset for the second-round pick out of Ohio State and was likely one of the biggest contributing factors for his emergence during the second half of the season and especially down the stretch as the Ravens were fighting tooth and nail to keep their playoff hopes alive.
An ankle injury that he suffered in Week Six knocked him out of commission for a few weeks and during that time, Dobbins and third-year running back Gus Edwards shined bright as a dynamic duo that became a three-headed monster when paired with Jackson.
In 11 games this season including nine starts, Ingram recorded 299 yards and two touchdowns rushing on 72 attempts and caught six passes for 50 yards. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry and was a healthy scratch for two of the Ravens’ final three games as well as both of their playoff games.
In a social media post following the news of his impending release, Ingram expressed his gratitude to the Ravens franchise for giving him an opportunity to extend his career and to his teammates and the entire fan base for welcoming him and his family to Charm City with open arms.
“I’d like to thank Mr. Steve Bisciotti and the Ravens for being a first-class organization and welcoming my family and I to the city,” Ingram wrote. “I love all the real ones in flock nation that supported me unconditionally and showed love to the boy these last 2 years. To my blood brothers, what’s understood Ain gotta be explained!! Call on 21 I got ya back forever y’all already know!!”
He also wrote that he is “looking forward” to his next opportunity and believes that “the best is still ahead” for him moving forward.
While this is the last that we’ll see of Ingram in a Ravens uniform, he joins the rich history of players that came to the team as veteran free agents or via trade but made lasting and indwelling impressions on both the organization and fanbase.
Ingram still has much to offer a team in the twilight of his career and doesn’t have the same amount of tread or wear and tear as the average 31-year old running back because he has been a part of and shined in a backfield committee for his entire career.
When healthy, he is a physical tone-setter with his rugged running style but also possess some nifty moves and quick feet that he can use to make defenders miss in open space.
He’d be a perfect fit for an offense that wants to run a power running offense like the Seattle Seahawks who have a decent stable of backs but none of them can stay healthy.
Of the teams still in the hunt for a Superbowl, the team that just beat the Raven in the divisional round might be in the market for a serviceable veteran back.
The Buffalo Bills lost their short-yardage and goal-line back when rookie Zack Moss was lost for the remainder of the postseason with an injury that he suffered in the Wildcard round.