Mark Ingram Reportedly Agrees to 1-Year, $3M Contract with Texans

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2021

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram (21) warms up before an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Three-time Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram II agreed to a one-year deal with the Houston Texans worth up to $3 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Earlier this month, the Texans restructured David Johnson's deal to provide the running back with more guaranteed money ($4.3 million) but lowered his salary from almost $9 million to a maximum of $6 million, per ESPN.

Shortly after their exit from the NFL playoffs, the Baltimore Ravens released Ingram. Schefter noted at the time Baltimore was saving $5 million for 2021, while the 31-year-old was hitting the open market with a lot of time to weigh his options.

Ingram had hinted at his exit from the Ravens:

Mark Ingram II @markingram21

Thank you Mr.Bisciotti and the Ravens for being a first class organization. I love the real ones in flock nation that supported me and showed luv! My blood brothers, whats understood Ain gotta be explained. Best is still ahead, cant wait! Watch God work. #GodWins #BigTrussForever https://t.co/Hx0GZrSIrz

The die was largely cast when Baltimore drafted Ohio State star J.K. Dobbins in the second round last year. Ingram had 1,018 yards and averaged 5.0 yards per carry in 2019, but that didn't stop the team from looking toward the future.

The Ravens proceeded to lessen his role in the running game this past year. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner set career lows for carries (72) and rushing yards (299).

Baltimore telegraphed Ingram's future when it kept him out for both of its postseason games. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio explained the decision was financially driven:

"Under the 2020 CBA, if Ingram were to suffer a serious injury that would prevent him from playing for the Ravens or anyone else in 2021, he'd be entitled to $2 million. Also under the CBA, the first $1.2 million of that payment would count against the salary cap. (The other $800,000 would be treated as player benefit costs.)

"Thus, the Ravens are trying to avoid an unnecessary cap charge in 2021 of $1.2 million by putting Ingram on the field again. With J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards getting it done at the tailback position, it's a no-brainer for a team that is poised to part way with Ingram, anyway."

The Ravens could afford to push Ingram to the periphery because they had two younger and equally—if not more—effective running backs on the roster in Dobbins and Edwards.

Ingram's days as a Pro Bowl-caliber runner are in all likelihood over, but the Alabama product can still be a valuable contributor.

The three-time Pro Bowler averaged 4.2 yards per carry in 2020, which would've put him in a tie for 36th in the NFL if he had enough touches to qualify. That's not an exceptional number, but it was better than Ezekiel Elliott, Josh Jacobs and Todd Gurley II.

This isn't the case of a player being on his last legs. At worst, Ingram should be a solid secondary option in Houston's backfield. And while he appears to harbor no resentment toward the Ravens, he might carry a chip on his shoulder after getting cast aside, providing enough justification to think he could bounce back nicely in 2021.