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Friday, 16 January 2015

New Orleans Saints: Top 3 Free Agents To Target This Offseason

The New Orleans Saints finally got a chance to see what running back Mark Ingram could do once he was given the lead role in the team’s running game. Now the former Alabama star and Heisman Trophy winner could be leaving through free agency.

A story in the Advocate claims the team praised Ingram for his work this past season, but have not reached out to him to discuss a contract extension as of yet.

In a recent news conference, New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis singled Mark Ingram out as one of the bright spots in an otherwise lost season.

But that vote of confidence has not yet led to the Saints making an effort to retain the free-agent running back, according to a league source, who indicates the team has not had any conversations with Ingram about a potential return.

The lack of contact could mean several things. It could indicate the team has no interest in bringing Ingram back, after declining to exercise his fifth-year option last year. Or it could simply mean the team has not yet reached Ingram’s name on its to-do list and intends to reach out to him at a later date.

Despite missing four games due to injury, Ingram had his best season as a New Orleans Saint finishing the season with 226 carries for career and team bests of 964 yards (4.3 avg.) and nine touchdowns. Ingram’s nine rushing scores were the most by a Saint since Pierre Thomas’ nine in 2008. Ingram had four 100-yard games in 2014, the most by a Saint since Deuce McAllister had four in 2006.

The Saints offense looked somewhat average this past season, a year where the team finished 7-9 on the season and second in the NFC South. They can ill afford to lose Ingram’s production and ability to score on the ground or in the passing game.

The Saints had issues on both offense and defense this season, a year of controversy and uneven play. Should the team lose Ingram, it will be one more things management must deal with in the offseason. The defense was one of the worst in the NFL under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. There will be many decisions to be made once the free agency period begins. Here is a look at three players the team may want to pursue with free agency on the horizon.


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