Mark Ingram

Saints Make Number Of IR Moves, Claim RB Eno Benjamin

As we enter the final stretch of the regular season, New Orleans is making preparations, designating center Erik McCoy and linebacker Chase Hansen for return off injured reserve, according to Field Yates of ESPN. Both players have sat out of the team’s last four games, the minimum amount required to return form IR.

McCoy was placed on IR after leaving New Orleans’ Monday night loss to the Ravens in early-November. The team’s fourth-year starting center left the game with a calf injury and sat out the next five weeks, mirroring his absence from the year before due to similar calf issues. Usual starting right guard Cesar Ruiz, who has center experience from his time as a Wolverine, has been filling in for McCoy with backup lineman Calvin Throckmorton filling Ruiz’s spot at guard. Veteran interior lineman Josh Andrews has also helped to fill out the two positions, starting three of the four games McCoy has missed.

Hansen’s return will add a bit of depth at the linebacker position. The third-year player out of Utah had been a mainstay on the special teams units this season before finding his way to IR.

The team also has officially placed veteran running back Mark Ingram on IR following the slight MCL tear suffered in the team’s more recent Monday night loss to the Buccaneers. The injury to the team’s backup running back has forced New Orleans to make some moves, the first of which being the promotion of practice squad running back David Johnson to the 53-man roster.

The second move made to counter the absence of Ingram is today’s waiver claim of former Texans and Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin, confirmed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Benjamin was released by Arizona a few weeks after a three-week starting run that included a 113-yard, touchdown-scoring performance. He quickly was picked up by the Texans who gave him two weeks to adjust to his new settings before playing him sparingly each of the past two weeks. He received his first carries as a Texan last weekend against the Cowboys before getting waived for the second time this season.

Benjamin was starting to show some production as a backup running back in his second year of NFL play, earning 299 yards off 70 carries before getting waived from the Cardinals. Combining Benjamin with Johnson should provide New Orleans with some solid, fresh legs behind starter Alvin Kamara.

Injury Rumors: Ingram, Tagovailoa, Sutton, Joseph-Day

Saints running back Mark Ingram has likely seen his 2022 season come to an end, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The soon-to-be 33-year-old is set to tie a ribbon on his lowest single season of production in 12 seasons of NFL play.

Ingram suffered a slight MCL tear in the team’s Monday night loss to the Buccaneers. The injury usually requires a recovery period of around four to six weeks. With five weeks remaining in the season, it’s extremely unlikely that Ingram will find his way back to the field in the regular season. Despite the Saints currently sitting at last place in the NFC South at 4-9, they are only 2.5 games behind the first-place Buccaneers (6-6). If they can win some games and catch some good luck in the form of losses by their division rivals, New Orleans could still find itself in the playoffs as the NFC South champion. Otherwise, Ingram’s 2022 season is likely concluded.

Ingram returned to his longtime home of New Orleans after two years in Baltimore and half a season in Houston, accepting his No. 2 role in the lineup behind star running back Alvin Kamara. Ingram has served as a reliable second option in the backfield for the Saints, who will now have to turn to Dwayne Washington to fill that role.

Here are a few other injury rumors from around the league, starting with an MVP candidate looking to keep a strong season going:

  • Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa exited the team’s loss to the 49ers last week late in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Already down 33-17 at the time of the injury, there was no use in forcing the young quarterback back into play, although, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, he could’ve returned to the game, if necessary. The news is a good sign for the Dolphins and Tagovailoa as the injury is likely not significant. As of today, all signs are pointing to Tagovailoa being able to start Sunday night against the quarterback who was drafted one pick after him in the 2020 NFL Draft, Justin Herbert, and the Chargers.
  • The Broncos can’t seem to catch a break at the wide receiver position. Shortly after seeing starting wideout Jerry Jeudy return to the field against the Ravens last week, Denver saw its other starting wide receiver, Courtland Sutton, leave the game late in the second quarter with a hamstring injury, according to Parker Gabriel of The Denver Post. Sutton would sit out the rest of game with a noticeable limp. He’s also expected to be unavailable for the team’s matchup with the Chiefs this weekend, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. With Sutton and KJ Hamler out this week, the Broncos will continue to field a receiving corps that, after Jeudy, boasts the likes of Kendall Hinton, Brandon Johnson, Montrell Washington, and Jalen Virgil.
  • Chargers defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day suffered a knee injury in this weekend’s loss to the division rival Raiders. Luckily, head coach Brandon Staley told the media that Joseph-Day likely avoided major injury and has been diagnosed with an MCL sprain, according to ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. The team will continue to monitor the situation and will know more about his status in the next few days.

Saints RB Mark Ingram Facing Multi-Week Absence

The Saints enjoyed a resounding win over the Raiders yesterday, but their backfield lost a key contributor in the process. Veteran running back Mark Ingram has suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain, and is likely to miss the next three to four weeks, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link).

As Rapoport notes, the news could have have been much worse for the 32-year-old. Still, his absence will be felt by New Orleans, which has seen success in turning to a run-heavy offense. The team ranks eighth in the league with an average of 141 yards per game on the ground. Ingram has chipped in with 197 yards this season, as he continues his second stint with the Saints.

The former Heisman winner ended his eight-year tenure with the team in 2019, when he signed with the Ravens. That resulted in his second career Pro Bowl nod, as he totaled 1,265 yards and 15 touchdowns. He lost the starter’s role midway through the following season, however, and found himself on the rebuilding Texans last year. That move was rather brief; Houston traded him back to New Orleans for a seventh-round pick in October, allowing Ingram to once again serve as Alvin Kamara‘s backup via a one-year extension which will expire in March.

The latter, to no surprise, leads the Saints in rushing yards in 2022. Swiss-Army knife Taysom Hill ranks second, but the team’s depth will be tested without Ingram for a significant stretch. Fellow veteran Latavius Murray chose to sign with the Broncos (despite the offer of a 53-man roster spot from the Saints), as Denver has searched for a stop-gap Javonte Williams replacement. That leaves Dwayne Washington as the only other back on the Saints’ active roster.

Looking to make up more ground in the wide-open NFC South, the 3-5 Saints will be without Ingram when they host the Ravens next Monday. How many more contests he misses could dictate their aggressiveness in acquiring a short-term replacement.

Saints Sign Malcolm Brown, Nick Martin

With an Alvin Kamara suspension in play for 2022, the Saints have been looking at veteran running backs. They added one to their mix Tuesday.

The Saints added former Rams and Dolphins back Malcolm Brown, doing so on a day in which they also signed center Nick Martin. The Brown addition comes after a fairly thorough look into the position this offseason, while Martin — after five years with the Texans and one with the Raiders — should be expected to compete for a backup job.

New Orleans brought in both Sony Michel and David Johnson this year, while also auditioning USFL Offensive Player of the Year Darius Victor. Johnson is believed to have come with too high a price tag for the Saints, per’s Jane Slater (video link). The Michel workout also came just before the former Patriots and Rams starter signed with the Dolphins, who opted to let Brown walk as they transitioned to a new coaching staff.

Although Mark Ingram is positioned to be Kamara’s top backup, Slater adds the Saints would not plan to use the 33-year-old as a full-timer at this stage of his career. Brown coming in provides insurance, with a Kamara suspension — for a February brawl in Las Vegas that led to an arrest and a civil lawsuit — potentially coming down this season. A Kamara ban would obviously make a significant impact on the Saints’ offense, judging by how it looked last season when the Pro Bowl back missed time, but Brown does provide a potential upgrade alongside Ingram.

Brown, 29, suffered a quadriceps injury last season; he played just seven games during his short Dolphins tenure. While Brown rushed for just 125 yards in 2021, he gained 419 and scored five touchdowns as part of a 2020 Rams committee. The former Todd Gurley backup also held regular special teams roles in Los Angeles, giving him a potential boost to make New Orleans’ 53-man roster. The Saints also have veteran special-teamer Dwayne Washington, recent signing Devine Ozigbo and third-year back Tony Jones on their 90-man offseason roster.

Martin, also 29, worked as Houston’s full-time starting center from 2017-20, earning an extension in that time. Despite missing his entire rookie season, Martin has proven durable since. He has not missed a game since 2017, when he was sidelined for two, and has 62 career starts. The former second-round pick, however, did not start a game for the Raiders in 2021, and lingered in free agency for months. He joins Forrest Lamp and Josh Andrews as notable Saints interior O-line depth. The team’s inside trio of Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy and Cesar Ruiz is set.

The Saints also signed defensive end Scott Patchan and waived punter Daniel Whelan, offensive lineman Derek Schweiger and cornerback Jordan Miller on Tuesday.

Latest On Alvin Kamara, Saints RB Depth

The NFL continues to monitor Alvin Kamara‘s legal situation. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the running back’s February arrest remains “under league review” while the NFL continues to monitor “all legal developments.” This includes Kamara’s scheduled court date on August 1.

Kamara was charged with felony battery following an altercation in Las Vegas during Pro Bowl weekend. Video surveillance showed Kamara punching Darnell Greene eight times following an argument, with Greene being knocked unconscious and sustaining an orbital bone fracture. Greene has since sued Kamara for monetary damages.

The NFL’s personal conduct policy calls for a six-game suspension for felony battery. As Fowler writes, there’s no “firm timeline” regarding when a potential suspension would be handed out. League sources told Fowler that they believe Kamara will ultimately be suspended, but a lot depends on the legal findings. If the legal proceedings are dragged out, Kamara might be allowed to suit up for Week 1, although the NFL also has the ability to put the RB on paid leave via the commissioner’s exempt list.

Regardless of how Kamara’s legal issues unfold, the Saints are still hunting for RB depth. As Jeff Duncan of writes, the Saints would clearly like to add some reinforcement at the position. While Duncan categorizes the RB pursuit as a “want” and notes that there isn’t any immediate urgency, the pursuit could easily evolve into a “need” if Kamara is ultimately slapped with a ban. If the Pro Bowler is forced to miss time, the Saints would turn to veteran Mark Ingram, but the team otherwise has inexperienced depth in Tony Jones, Dwayne Washington, Devine Ozigbo, and UDFA Abram Smith.

As Duncan notes, we’ve already seen the Saints be aggressive when it comes to adding at the position. The team put in a bid for Sony Michel before he landed with the Dolphins, and they’ve also hosted veteran David Johnson and USFL standout Darius Victor on visits. The team even outbid the rest of the NFL in order to add Smith, who was “one of the Class of 2022’s prize undrafted free agents.”

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/17/21

Today’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

  • Activated from Reserve/COVID-19 List: RB Mark Ingram

New York Giants

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/8/21

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Designated for return: G D’Ante Smith, CB Trae Waynes

Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Washington Football Team

Saints Acquired Mark Ingram For 7th-Round Pick 

The Saints only gave up a 2024 seventh-round draft pick in their trade for Mark Ingram (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of The Texans — in the midst of a major reboot — effectively moved the running back in a salary dump. 

Ingram has also inked a brand new deal with his old pals (Twitter link via Field Yates of Ingram is now signed through 2022 thanks to a one-year extension that could pay up to $2.8M next year. He’ll also take a haircut for this year — his salary has gone from $1.5MM to $1.075MM while his per-game bonuses have been wiped out. Ultimately, he’ll carry a cap charge of just ~$657K for the Saints this year. Next season, he’ll collect $1.5MM in salary, plus a $300K roster bonus, $500K total in per-game perks, and another $500K in potential incentives.

The 2011 first-rounder spent the first eight seasons of his career in New Orleans, tallying 55 total touchdowns. In those last two Saints years, he formed one of the league’s best RB duos with Alvin Kamara. He’ll look to recapture that magic again as the Saints try and lessen Kamara’s workload. So far this year, Kamara is averaging 19 rushing attempts per game, up from the 11.2 totes per contest he averaged previously.

Ingram is expected to make his New Orleans re-debut on Halloween when the Saints host the Buccaneers.

Latest On Texans WR Brandin Cooks

With a 1-6 record, the Texans have started to deal off some veterans…and it sounds like one of their locker room leaders is unhappy about the direction of the squad. Following tonight’s trade that sent Mark Ingram to New Orleans, Texans wideout Brandin Cooks took to Twitter to show his displeasure.

[RELATED: Texans Trading RB Mark Ingram To Saints]

This is bulls***,” Cooks said. “Such a joke.”

This obviously isn’t a great look for an organization that considers Cooks to be both a leader and a foundational piece (per ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter). From Cooks’ perspective, the frustration makes some sense; per Aaron Wilson (on Twitter), Cooks and Ingram are “very close friends.”

The Texans have moved on from their starting RB, they’re expected to trade franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, and they recently put defensive leader Zach Cunningham on the trading block. While the front office apparently has future plans for Cooks, there’s no denying that he’s one of the organization’s best trade chips (especially considering he’s only owed $1.5MM for the rest of the season, per ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter). Earlier today, the 28-year-old had a much more measured response when asked about potentially being traded (via Wilson on Twitter).

“At the end of the day, guys know it’s a business,” said Cooks. “We go to do the best we can. All that type of stuff takes care of itself. It’s a decision that’s out of your control.”

Despite the uncertainty at the quarterback position, Cooks has still put up solid numbers in 2021. Through the first seven games, the veteran wideout has hauled in 45 receptions for 502 yards (albeit with only one touchdown).

Texans Trading RB Mark Ingram To Saints

Mark Ingram is heading back to where his NFL career started. The Texans are trading the veteran running back to the Saints, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). Terms of the deal are still being finalized, but Pelissero tweets that it’s expected to “involve late-round future picks.”

Ingram was a first-round pick by the Saints back in 2011, and he proceeded to spend the first eight seasons of his career in New Orleans. He saw time in 106 regular season games (63 starts) during his first stint with the organization, collecting 55 total touchdowns. During his final two years in New Orleans, Ingram formed one of the league’s best running back tandems with Alvin Kamara, something the duo will be looking to recreate for a second time.

Ingram inked a three-year deal with the Ravens in 2019 but only made it through two seasons with the organization. He caught on with the Texans this past offseason and proceeded to start each of their first seven games, collecting 318 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown.

The Saints have been looking for a running back that could help to lessen their starter’s workload. Kamara is currently averaging 19 rushing attempts per game, which is a significant jump from the 11.2 attempts per game he averaged through his first four seasons in the NFL. Ingram should slide right into that second spot on the RB depth chart, and he’ll push the likes of Dwayne Washington, Devine Ozigbo, Tony Jones Jr. (who’s on injured reserve), and practice squad backs Lamar Miller and Ryquell Armstead further down the pecking order.

The 1-6 Texans are beginning their fire sale, so it’s not a surprise that they’ve decided to move on from their 31-year-old starting running back. Of course, the team’s depth chart at the position still consists of veterans, including David Johnson and Rex Burkhead.