NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Mark Ingram wasn’t just another Saints player. He was the heart, soul and passion of the locker room for eight years. That’s why it hurts to see such a mainstay leave the franchise. Check his teammates tweets for proof of their pain.
“To me that’s family… I’ve made a lot of friends in the locker room and I’ve created family ties to some guys. I’ve watched some of the best teammates leave and IF this happens for real this one gone hurt,” Cam Jordan, who came into the league in 2011 with Ingram tweeted.
“It’s really tough for people on the outside to understand Mark’s value,” Terron Armstead tweeted. ”He brings energy to any room he steps in! Plays with fire that’s contagious to all of us!”
A player with that kind of impact makes it’s hard to envision him wearing anything other than black and gold. But that looks to be the case next season. The Saints moved on from negotiations with their former first round pick Tuesday and opted to sign Latavius Murray to a four-year deal worth up to $14.4 million.
It’s never good to write a column where the writer sits on the fence with his opinion, but in this scenario, I truly understand both sides.
Ingram is 29 years old with one last chance at a significant payday. Maximizing his market value is absolutely the right thing to do. NFL careers are finite and it’s important for them to get as much as they can get in the short time they have to cash in.
For the Saints, it’s simply about numbers. They undoubtedly love Ingram, but with him being 29 and some young guns coming up for big contracts, they had to be prudent in what they were willing to pay.
Sources told FOX 8 sports that the Saints’ final offer to Ingram was about $4 million per season, essentially the same with what he was making with his last contract. Realistically my belief was Ingram’s market was between $4-5 million per season.
Ingram wanted more, that’s his right to pursue. The Saints couldn’t pay more, that’s their right to do.
Both sides share risks in their respective roles. Ingram may find his payday but may not end up on a contender. The Saints could save a few bucks by signing Murray but he may not be the fit this offense needs in that role. That’s life in the business of the NFL.
It’s hard to say goodbye to a player like Ingram, but from where both sides stood, it’s understandable to see how it got to this point.