Mark Ingram Reacts to Christian McCaffrey's Contract, Defends RBs from Critics

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2020

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JANUARY 11: Mark Ingram #21 of the Baltimore Ravens warms up prior to playing against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II said Tuesday the Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey "deserves" his four-year, $64 million contract extension.

Ingram also spoke about his hope that the record-setting deal will help bolster the positional market:

"I think he deserves that. He...1,000 yards rushing, 1,000 yards receiving. He's just a high percentage, high volume of their offense, and he's just an impact player. Why should a running back be treated less than another position? ... I think he deserves that, and I think his value on the team and his value across the league ... deserves that. ... I'm all for his deal; I'm excited for his deal, and hopefully the running back market keeps increasing."

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara also reacted to the contract live on Twitch:

McCaffrey is coming off a monster 2019 season during which he led all players in touches (403), yards from scrimmage (2,392) and touchdowns (19). He also became just the third player in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards in both rushing and receiving in the same season.

New Panthers head coach Matt Rhule praised the dual-threat weapon last week.

"That's what Christian is," Rhule told reporters. "To label him a running back, that's not respectful to him. He's a tailback/wideout. He can do it all. I'm anxious to get him out there and to continue to build this thing around him."

The question is whether an offense built around a running back can find high-end success in the modern NFL, which is mostly built around elite quarterbacks.

Despite McCaffrey's eye-popping numbers, Carolina finished 19th in total offense (341.8 YPG) and 20th in scoring offense (21.3 PPG) last year with Cam Newton sidelined by injuries for most of the campaign.

The Panthers signed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in free agency, which should provide a boost at the sport's most important position, but the offense is still likely to lean more toward a run-heavy or balanced attack compared to most of the NFL's top championship contenders.

McCaffrey will likely push 400 touches again, and his individual numbers will probably make fantasy football owners happy. Whether that will translate into team success for the Panthers, who are coming off a disappointing 5-11 campaign, is harder to forecast.

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