Could Mark Ingram Become A Free Agent After This Season?
Can New Orleans Saints running back become a free agent after this season?
The answer is yes.
The Saints signed Ingram to a 4-year deal back in March of 2015, making him eligible to be come a free agent following the 2018 season.
There is a clause in Ingram's contract however, that would void the remainder of the deal after this season if he is named first-team All-Pro by The Associated Press.
Granted, that's a longshot, but there is a chance.
Last season, Ingram rushed for 1,043 yards, becoming only the 7th player in New Orleans Saints’ history to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards.
This season, through 11 games, Ingram has compiled 837 yards.
The 27-year old Ingram, who the Saints drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Alabama, is averaging 76.0 yards-per-game.
With 5 games remaining, if Ingram continues at his current pace, he would finish with 1,217 yards, which would be a career-high.
It would also mark the first time a Saints running back would accumulate back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons since 2003-2004.
To date, only six other players have ever rushed for 1,000 yards in a season for the Saints, with the last, before Ingram eclipsed the mark last year, coming back in 2006, when Deuce McAllister rushed for 1,057.
McAllister, the all-time leading rusher in franchise history with 6,096 yards, rushed for 1,000 yards, or more, in a season 4 times (2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006).
George Rogers, who set the franchise single-season rushing record back in 1983, with 1,674 yards, eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards twice with the Saints (1981 & 1983), while Ricky Williams also did it twice (2000-2001).
Those are the only running back to rush for over 1,000 yards as a member of the Saints multiple times.
The other three to do it, Chuck Muncie (1979), Rueben Mayes (1986), and Dalton Hilliard (1989) each did it once.
Ingram, who ranks second in franchise history with 5,075 rushing yards, trails McAllister by 1,032 yards for the top spot.
Now, back to Ingram needed to become a first-team All-Pro by the AP to become a free agent; he currently ranks 5th in the NFL in rushing, 10 yards behind the Chicago Bears' Jordan Howard for 4th place, and 28 yards behind Todd Gurley of the Rams for 3rd place.
In terms of rushing touchdowns, Ingram is tied with Gurley, with 8, for the most in the NFL.
A couple of more big games, and you can see where Ingram couldn't be left off of any All-Pro teams.
Still, as good as Ingram has been this season, he likely would not be named a first team All-Pro by the AP, as he has shared time with rookie Alvin Kamara, who has rushed for 546 yards.
The other thing that Ingram has to deal with over the last 5 weeks is playing 4games against division foes, which is always difficult, including one against the 8-3 Panthers, and two against the 7-4 Falcons.
So, while it's possible Ingram could become a free agent at the end of this season, it's still probably not likely.