Mark Ingram, who played his first eight seasons in the NFL with the Saints, will rejoin his former team after being traded back to New Orleans from the Texans on Wednesday, per multiple reports.
Ingram left the Saints after 2018, playing for the Ravens in 2019 and ’20. He was waived by Baltimore in January 2021, but later signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Texans in March. Through seven games with the Texans, Ingram totaled 294 rushing yards and one touchdown. He had two 1,000-plus rushing yard seasons with the Saints (2016-17) and one 1,000-plus rushing yard season with the Ravens (2019).
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The former Saints running back will return to the franchise — which drafted him with the 28th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft — with at least one team record still standing: He is the only player in franchise history to rush for 50 touchdowns. Deuce McAllister is second on the all-time rushing touchdowns list, with 49. Ingram also has a chance to become the Saints’ all-time leading rusher; he needs only 90 more yards to pass McAllister’s mark of 6,096.
Ingram will now be reunited with some of his former teammates, including running back Alvin Kamara, who is one of his closest friends in the league. In 2017, the duo became the first running back pair in NFL history to individually record more than 1,500 scrimmage yards in the same season.
The trade is not yet finalized but, assuming Ingram passes his physical, will return to the city where he has spent the most of his NFL career. But what did the Texans get in return for trading Ingram?
Here’s everything you need to know about the trade:
Mark Ingram trade details
Trade details have not been confirmed. This section will be updated once the trade is finalized.
- Saints get: Mark Ingram
- Texans get: Late-round draft picks
The details of the Ingram trade, which has not been finalized, have not been made public. However, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the Texans are expected to receive late-round draft picks in exchange for Ingram.
Details still being finalized, but the trade expected to involve late-round future picks. A bargain addition for the #Saints, who get buddies Ingram and Alvin Kamara together again. https://t.co/6hkL13guEm
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 27, 2021
That said, receiver Brandin Cooks — a team leader whose career also started with the Saints — did not appreciate reports of Ingram’s trade:
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Mark Ingram contract
The details of Ingram’s contract have not been released. This section will be updated when those details are published.
Why the Saints traded for Ingram
Even though Kamara is coming off his best season in which he rushed a career-high 932 yards and scored 16 touchdowns, the Saints know they can’t solely rely on Kamara to make plays for them. They needed to add Ingram back on the roster to take some of the weight off Kamara’s shoulders.
When Ingram and Kamara both played on the Saints in 2017 and ’18, the Saints went 11-5 and 13-3, respectively. In 2017, the Saints made it to the Divisional Playoffs before losing to the Vikings. In 2018, the Saints made it to the Conference Championship before losing to the Rams.
Mark Ingram II in his first stint with the Saints (2011-2018):
🔥88.6 PFF Grade (7th among RB)
🔥6,007 rush yards (6th)
🔥50 Rush TDs (4th)
🔥207 Missed Forced Tackles (T-7th)
— PFF NO Saints (@PFF_Saints) October 27, 2021
Since Ingram left after 2018, the Saints continued to have successful seasons up until this year. They went 13-3 and 12-4 and made it to the postseason both years. However, the Saints are 4-2 this season. The Saints are still adjusting to life without quarterback Drew Brees, who retired after the 2020 season. A familiar face could be helpful.
The Saints could also have added Ingram to help them compete with division opponent Tampa Bay, the 2020 Super Bowl champions. The Buccaneers, currently 6-1, are one of the top teams not only in the division and conference, but also the entire league. The Saints play them in Week 8 and again in Week 15.
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Who will step up for the Texans in Ingram’s place?
The Texans have struggled with their running game in recent years, including the 2021 season. Through seven games, they only have 565 rushing yards. They average 3.28 yards per carry, worst in the NFL this season.
David is second on the team with only 104 yards. Phillip Lindsay, the other running back in the Texans’ rotation, currently has 97 rushing yards this season. With Ingram’s absence, Johnson steps up in the starting running back position.
Houston is clearly looking forward to a rebuild, one that does not have room for Ingram, a 31-year-old NFL veteran. Though he leads the team with 294 yards and is tied with Johnson with one rushing score, it’s likely the Texans view future draft capital as more valuable than his veteran presence, considering their running game is still among the worst in the league.