The revival of the Bears-Packers rivalry wasn’t sparked when Aaron Rodgers completed a miraculous comeback in the 2018 regular-season opener at Lambeau Field. Instead, the seeds were planted well before that as the long-time on-field rivals were battling for some of football’s top free agents last offseason. Allen Robinson chose the Bears over the Packers, while Jimmy Graham ended up with the Packers and not the Bears.
And since it went so well for Chicago the first time around, who’s up for a sequel?
In addition to Saints… the Bears, Ravens, Packers and Lions have interest in Mark Ingram, I’m told
— Sean FazendeFOX8 (@SeanFazendeFOX8) March 11, 2019
Sean Fazende, a FOX reporter for the network’s New Orleans affiliate, hears that the Bears, Packers, and Lions have shown an interest in free agent running back Mark Ingram. It’s an NFC North free-for-all in the making with the winner getting one of free agency’s most versatile backs!
Ingram is a two-time Pro Bowl rusher with two 1,000-yard rushing seasons under his belt. He is coming off a season in which he rushed for 645 yards in 12 games and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. And even though Ingram will be 30 next December, he doesn’t have the wear-and-tear other backs at this age tend to have because he has never been the full-time load-carrying back.
What makes Ingram a most appealing option is his pass-catching prowess out of the backfield. Between 2014-17, Ingram averaged 45 catches and 321 receiving yards. During that stretch, he averaged 1,296 scrimmage yards per season, which puts him among the better two-way backs in the league. And that makes him a potentially ideal fit for the Bears offense moving forward. Ingram set a career high with 230 carries in 2017, but that’s not an extremely heavy workload.
Save for the four-game suspension he served in 2018 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, Ingram has been a reliable and productive back for the Saints. But with Alvin Kamara leading the way, it’s possible that the Saints move on. Perhaps that leaves the door open for the Bears to sign the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner and add him to their stable of backs. However, it looks like they’ll have to hold off some stiff competition in order to make that happen.