Two of the best free-agent running backs have new contracts with teams that aren’t the Chicago Bears.
First, it was Le’Veon Bell landing with the Jets, and now Mark Ingram falls to the Ravens:
Former Saints’ RB Mark Ingram intends to sign a three-year, $15 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens, per @diannaESPN and me.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
The Baltimore Ravens (who are on the brink of signing safety Earl Thomas) are signing Mark Ingram to a three-year deal worth $15 million – they were rumored to be in on Bell before this deal went down, so his decision likely pushed up their timeline on Ingram.
More to the point: The Ravens’ deal with Ingram has various implications for the Bears – the most obvious being that it takes a potential fit for this offense off the board.
As we discussed earlier in the week, Ingram’s versatility to pound it out on the ground and haul in catches as a receiver out of the backfield made him a highly-sought-after target in free agency. And even though the Bears’ backfield has Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and (the new guy) Mike Davis already occupying three spots on the depth chart, Ingram brought a multi-faceted game and a track record of success despite a lighter work-load than what you’d expect for a running back who turns 30 in December. Indeed, the fit was sensible, if not obvious. Not anymore.
In addition to losing out on Ingram as a free agent, the Bears’ list of potential trading partners for a Howard deal shrunk again. Chicago reportedly had multiple teams discussing deals for Howard after approaching GM Ryan Pace at the NFL Scouting Combine. And while no specific teams were mentioned, the Ravens and Jets made sense as possible fits. Neither is that right now after scooping up Ingram and Bell, respectively.
This leaves Tevin Coleman as the best available multi-purpose free agent running back available. Coleman probably wasn’t utilized to his full potential in Atlanta, but he set career-bests in rush attempts (167), rush yards (800), touches (199) and scrimmage yards (1,076). Coleman will play 2019 in his age 26 season and has proven to be the type of all-purpose back modern offenses are tending to gravitate toward building their running backs room around. Let’s keep an eye on his status as the day moves along.