Mark Ingram

Texans To Sign Mark Ingram

New Texans head coach David Culley made some puzzling comments on Deshaun Watson just now, but the Watson saga isn’t the only order of business the team has going on.

Houston has agreed to sign running back Mark Ingram to a one-year deal, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Per Schefter, the deal is worth “up to” $3MM, presumably indicating he’ll need to hit some incentives to get that full number. Ingram was cut by the Ravens back in January. Ingram will get a $500K signing bonus, and has $250K incentives for hitting both 750 and 1,000 yards rushing, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

The Texans recently cut Duke Johnson while coming to a new agreement with David Johnson, who Ingram will now presumably split carries with. Houston really values their running backs, pulling off several trades for runners in recent years. With a duo of Johnson (29) and now Ingram (31), it won’t exactly be the most youthful backfield in 2021. The 28th overall pick of the 2011 draft, Ingram spent the first eight years of his career with the Saints.

He then spent the past two seasons in Baltimore, and will now head off to Houston for his 11th pro campaign. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner wasn’t very productive last year, but in 2019 he was a Pro Bowler and rushed for 1,018 yards and ten touchdowns while averaging five yards per attempt.

With the Ravens drafting J.K. Dobbins early last year he fell out of favor in the rotation, but that doesn’t mean he has nothing left to contribute. It’ll be interesting to see what his usage is like next to Johnson.

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Mark Ingram Clears Waivers

Ravens running back Mark Ingram is now a full-fledged free agent. After going unclaimed on waivers, Ingram is free to sign with any team, including those in the playoffs.

[RELATED: Ravens To Explore Extension For Lamar Jackson]

Per league rules, Ingram would have been barred from taking the field for any playoff team that claimed him this week. However, after passing through the waiver wire, he’s postseason-eligible. The Bills, for example, sign Ingram today and have him on the field for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs.

The Ravens made Ingram a healthy scratch in each of their playoff games this year. Once they were eliminated, they released Ingram to save $5MM against the 2021 cap and allow him to catch on elsewhere. The Ravens could have waited until mid-February or March to do the same thing, but they wanted to give Ingram and other players like Robert Griffin III an opportunity to win a championship.

Ingram, 31, finished out with just 72 carries for 299 yards in nine games. It was the worst season of his career, but he did still manage 4.2 yards per tote. The Bills, who have lacked consistency on the ground, could use someone like that. And, for what it’s worth, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh believes that he still has gas left in the tank.

He’ll still play, I guarantee you,” Harbaugh said (via AL.com). “Mark and I had this conversation. He has plenty of football left. He’s going to contribute next year and beyond in the [NFL]…He’s a very good player, a very physical back. I remember when we played him the last time we played the Saints, and you see a guy on tape, and then he ran up our sideline and hit a couple guys on the sideline and popped up. And I looked at him, I was like, ‘This guy is physical, man. This guy is a tank.’ And he also had great feet. I was really impressed with him. Then we got him here, and I got to see it close up.”

Meanwhile, the Ravens will build their running game around J.K. Dobbins, who averaged an eye-popping 6.0 yards per carry in his rookie season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens To Release Mark Ingram

The Ravens are cutting Mark Ingram, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The move will save the Ravens $5MM against the 2021 cap. 

[RELATED: Ravens To Explore Extension For Lamar Jackson]

Ingram, who now has an early jump on free agency, believes he still has plenty of football left in the tank. The Ravens did not agree, making him a healthy scratch in both of their playoff games this year.

Ingram, 31, is coming off of his worst statistical season. Limited to nine games, he finished out with just 72 carries for 299 yards — both career lows. For what it’s worth, he was still rather efficient, running for 4.2 yards per carry in the Ravens’ high-powered offense. He also has a solid track record with 9,200+ career all-purpose yards. The bulk of those yards came with the Saints, where he topped 7,500 total yards across eight years.

The vet made a mark in his first Ravens season, rushing for 1,018 yards and ten touchdowns, plus a 26/257/5 receiving line. This year, he lost his spot in the pecking order to rookie J.K. Dobbins, who projects as Baltimore’s top back for 2021. Gus Edwards also shined in Ingram’s stead, managing 700+ rushing yards in the regular season.

Ingram’s release will leave $1.3MM in dead money against the Ravens’ 2021 cap, the balance of his prorated bonus.

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COVID-19 Latest: Ravens, Tuitt, Colts

Multiple standout defensive linemen will be back in action in Week 13, and although the Ravens still have several players on their reserve/COVID-19 list, their roster is no longer as depleted as it was Wednesday.

  • Baltimore’s coronavirus list still houses 10 players, including Lamar Jackson, but the team will have multiple starters back at practice soon. The Ravens activated Calais Campbell, Mark Ingram and defensive lineman Jihad Ward from their virus list. Ingram was eligible to play against the Steelers on Wednesday, but the Ravens held him out. A five-time Pro Bowler, Campbell has not played since Nov. 8 due to a calf strain.
  • The 11-0 Steelers will have Stephon Tuitt back in action when they face Washington on Monday. They activated the seventh-year starter from their reserve/COVID list. Three Steelers remain on the virus list, including starters James Conner and Maurkice Pouncey.
  • Pricey trade acquisition DeForest Buckner came off the Colts‘ virus list as well. Buckner landed on Indianapolis’ COVID list after testing positive for the virus in late November. The Colts, who allowed the Titans to rush for 229 yards in Buckner’s absence last week, also removed Jonathan Taylor from their virus list.
  • The Ravens announced Saturday that four strains of the coronavirus were present in their building. While the team believes it contained three of those strains, the fourth ended up spreading to the point it forced the NFL to postpone the team’s Steelers rematch three times. Ten straight days commenced with at least one Raven testing positive for the virus, and the team had as many as 23 players on its reserve/COVID list at the height of the outbreak. Four straight days, however, have passed without a Ravens positive test.

Latest On Ravens’ COVID-19 Situation

Despite being eligible to come off of the COVID-19 reserve list, Ravens running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins will not play today against the Steelers, according to NBC’s Michelle Tafoya (Twitter link via Andrew Perloff of The Dan Patrick Show). The Ravens will be well-set with Gus Edwards in the backfield, but they’ll still be severely shorthanded for their afternoon tilt. 

At least 12 Ravens players have tested positive for the coronavirus, including star quarterback Lamar Jackson. Safety Geno Stone was among the latest to test positive for COVID-19 — a troubling development since he was not previously categorized as a “high-risk close contact.”

As Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun notes, the Ravens will be conducting point-of-care tests prior to kickoff in order to screen any possible new cases. And, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (on Twitter), the NFLPA will be keeping a watchful eye on those results. The union is not opposed to the game being played today, but they may push back against the league if the spread continues.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ingram, Dobbins May Return Vs. Steelers

The Ravens’ roster has been decimated by a COVID-19 outbreak, but help may be on the way. Running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram will not fly with the team to Pittsburgh today, but the expectation is that they will fly tomorrow, in time to suit up for the Wednesday game against the Steelers (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). 

[RELATED: Ravens-Steelers Moved To Wednesday]

The league’s COVID protocols mandate a 10-day isolation period, and today marks Day 10. Had the game taken place on Thursday night as originally planned, or postponed to Sunday afternoon or Tuesday night (tonight), they would have been ineligible. The third — and, hopefully, final — postponement of the game has given them an opportunity to face the Steelers.

The Ravens running backs learned of their positive tests on Nov. 23. A number of Ravens players, including star quarterback Lamar Jackson, tested positive for the coronavirus in the days that followed. The Ravens are still working with a half-strength offense, but the presence of Ingram and Dobbins should help.

Before the positive, Dobbins registered 5.3 yards per carry for Baltimore. Ingram, meanwhile, is itching to get back on the field — he’s played in just eight games so far, thanks to an October injury.

No team placed a player on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, and Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets the Ravens’ string of positive coronavirus tests stopped at eight. The thrice-rescheduled Ravens-Steelers rematch is a go for Wednesday afternoon. While this will not be finalized until the AFC North teams receive test results Wednesday, the Ravens are scheduled to fly to Pittsburgh at 7:15pm ET.

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Ravens’ Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins Test Positive For COVID-19

Ravens running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins have tested positive for COVID-19 (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). They’ll both land on the reserve list today, leaving Gus Edwards as their primary back for Thursday night against the Steelers. 

Ingram has already missed significant time due to injury. Now, he’s out for at least an additional week until he clears the league’s coronavirus protocols. For Dobbins, the timing is especially unfortunate — he’s coming off of a strong showing against the Titans where he rushed for 70 yards off of just 15 carries, good for an average of 4.67 yards per tote.. All in all, the second-round pick out of Ohio State has averaged 5.3 yards per attempt as Ingram’s fill-in.

Edwards has also impressed in a shorter sample size, tallying 376 yards off of 85 carries (4.4 ypc) and three touchdowns. The 25-year-old Rutgers product has averaged 5.1 yards for the Ravens since turning pro — not too shabby for a backup RB.

The Ravens, sans two of their offensive stars, will look to stop a two-game slide on Thursday when they head to Pittsburgh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: T. Brown, Garoppolo, Clowney

Let’s round up a few injury-related items from around the league.

  • Raiders OT Trent Brown is back on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Brown is expected to miss at least a month of action (Twitter link).
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports confirms a report from several days ago that 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo will not require surgery on his injured ankle, but the 29-year-old signal-caller is expected to miss at least a month (Twitter link). The injury further clouds Garoppolo’s uncertain future in San Francisco.
  • Titans edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney is out for today’s game against the Bears. He is dealing with a meniscus issue and may ultimately opt for surgery.
  • The Browns have a bye this week, and next time they’re on the field, they hope to be rejoined by Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb (Twitter link via Rapoport). Chubb has been dealing with an MCL injury, and though Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson have played reasonably well in his absence, getting Chubb back will be a big boost to Cleveland’s playoff push.
  • Some may be wondering if WR Odell Beckham has already played his last game for the Browns, as he will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear and has never really embraced Cleveland. Kim Jones of WFAN reports that OBJ will undergo surgery to repair the ACL on Tuesday (Twitter link).
  • Ravens RB Mark Ingram left Baltimore’s game against the Eagles several weeks ago, and he still has not returned to action. Rapoport says Ingram is dealing with a high-ankle sprain (Twitter link), which explains the multi-week absence. Ingram has been ruled out for today’s game against the Colts, but younger backs Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins may be the better options anyway.
  • When the Eagles return to their facility following this week’s bye, they expect to have RB Miles Sanders back, and they believe WR Alshon Jeffery will be a full participant in practice (Twitter link via Rapoport).

AFC Notes: Ravens, Patriots, Rivers

After the Ravens added Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Mark Ingram believes his team officially has the best running game in the league.

“I like his mindset, I like his attitude, I like the way he run the ball. Just bring him and his talents to our room that’s already special; our backfield is gonna be the best in the league for sure,” Ingram told NFL Network’s Colleen Wolfe (via NFL.com’s Grant Gordon). “We’re all looking forward to it, being playmakers for the team and help us win the championship.”

Last season, Ingram and quarterback Lamar Jackson became just the second RB-QB duo to top 1,000 rushing yards in the same season (Warrick Dunn and Michael Vick did it with the Falcons in 2006). Gus Edwards also had a productive season in Baltimore, running for 711 yards and two scores. Even Justice Hill found the end zone twice as a rookie.

While the backfield may be a bit crowded, it doesn’t sound like Ingram is too concerned about carries. Rather, the veteran is focused on winning a championship, and he passed that mindset on to his rookie teammate.

“He reached out to me,” Ingram said. “Right after he got drafted, just shot me his number, said he was looking forward to getting to work. I told him let’s go get a ring.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Sticking with Baltimore, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta told season ticket holders that the team doesn’t have a whole lot of salary cap flexibility (via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec on Twitter). DeCosta noted that if the front office did open up space, they’d likely pursue a pass rusher/linebacker or a veteran offensive lineman.
  • Reports yesterday indicated that Tom Brady‘s “deteriorating relationship” with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was a big reason why the quarterback left New England. However, Brady vehemently denied those rumors via Instagram, asking reporters to “[p]lease be more responsible with reporting” (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). McDaniels and Brady had been paired together for more than a decade, winning six Super Bowls along the way.
  • In 2019, Philip Rivers was playing behind a Chargers offensive line that ranked 29th in effectiveness, per Pro Football Focus. In Indy, he’ll be playing behind an offensive line that was ranked third by the same metric, and that’s a big reason why the veteran decided to join the Colts. “The big part of Philip being here is Anthony CastonzoQuenton Nelson,” said offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni (via NFL.com’s Nick Shook). Ryan KellyBraden SmithMark Glowinski. Those guys are studs…That’s something that he just kept mentioning after we signed him of how valuable those guys were to him.”

Ravens’ Mark Ingram II On His Future

Father Time isn’t always kind to running backs, but Mark Ingram isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon. In a chat with reporters this week, the 30-year-old said that he plans on playing “at the highest level for another four or five years.” 

That’s how I feel, man,” Ingram said (via the team website). “I’m with a great team that takes care of me, and I feel like I can play this game at a high level – at the highest level – for at least another four or five years…My body feels good. I’m moving good. I have nothing really lagging. If I do, I’ll be working on it, rehabbing it, strengthening it up so all my weaknesses are turning into my strengths. I just want to be the best, man. I want to be one of the best. When you talk about running backs who had long, prestigious careers, I want to be in that discussion.”

Ingram – who is only “old” by NFL RB standards – delivered his third 1,000-yard season in 2019, paving the way for his third career Pro Bowl selection (he also came 36 yards shy of the four-digit mark in 2014). After averaging 4.5 yards per carry across eight seasons with the Saints, he took things to a new level in Lamar Jackson‘s offense, setting a new career high with 5.0 ypc. So far, his three-year, $15.5MM deal looks like a clear win for the Ravens.

Beyond the yards and touchdowns, Ingram also maintained his usual high standards when it comes to pass blocking. For a second straight year, he was one of Pro Football Focus’ top-ranked qualified tailbacks in the category. All things considered, we’d be surprised if the Ravens invested an early pick in the position, though they may use a middle or late-round choice to back Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.