After losing four players to free agency in just 24 hours, the Baltimore Ravens finally made two additions to the roster. The first occurred when Baltimore reached a deal in principle with former Seattle Seahawks free safety, Earl Thomas, early Wednesday afternoon. Just ten minutes later, the news broke that the Ravens signed the veteran running back Mark Ingram. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Ravens agreed to give Ingram a three year, $15 million deal.
Mark Ingram (now 29-years-old) back was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The Alabama prospect quickly grew into his role with the Saints. While playing in a pass-heavy offense with Drew Brees, Ingram managed to develop into the Saints’ second all-time leading rusher. He sits in second place, just 89 yards behind Deuce McAlister on the franchise’s all-time leading rusher list. Ingram is among the most respected players on the Saints and in the National Football League. The Ravens plan to bring him in to provide a veteran presence to a running backs group filled with young players.
Ingram comes into to a backfield with an uncertain future. The Ravens currently have Kenneth Dixon and Tyler Ervin on the depth chart, and can easily re-sign Gus Edwards as an exclusive rights free agent. Baltimore must decide whether or not the future lies with Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon, or if the team must explore other options. Baltimore should be careful in dealing with Gus Edwards. The team has a history of finding breakout running backs like Edwards, only to see his production drop in year two. The Ravens should also be cautious moving forward with Kenneth Dixon. Dixon is often injured, and the Ravens can ill afford to invest the future in a back who may seldom see the field.
The Ravens may opt to draft a running back in the early rounds of the draft as well. One ball carrier mocked to the Ravens is Josh Jacobs of Alabama. The Ravens could draft him to pair him with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards to create a backfield with the proper investments for the future coupled with a veteran presence to back it up.