Okay, this is just getting funny. ESPN’s Field Yates reported Friday that running back Mark Ingram signed a one-year contract extension with the Houston Texans prior to his trade to the New Orleans Saints — possibly as a condition of allowing that trade to pass. He’s now under contract through the 2022 season and carries a meager salary cap hit of roughly $657,000 this year. And, remember: the Saints traded the least-valuable draft pick legally allowed by NFL rules to bring him home.
Ingram will now very likely finish his career in black and gold, just as he should have. He’ll have an opportunity to hang up his cleats owning every major rushing record for yards and touchdowns, at least until his close friend and protégé Alvin Kamara breaks them someday. How wild is that given the frustrating early years of his NFL career?
As for how his contract was tweaked: Ingram would have cost roughly $1.21 million against the 2021 salary cap, taking up most of the Saints’ available salary cap space (estimated at $1.6 million). Now that this extension is being accounted for, the Saints are counting little more than half of that on their books. They’ve got enough cap space — and enough future draft picks, having delayed compensation in this trade to 2024 — to add another player before the Nov. 2 trade deadline.
Here are some more key details from Yates’ report:
- Ingram’s remaining $323,521 in weekly active roster bonuses are gone, instead he’ll receive a $250,000 signing bonus up front
- Ingram carries a $1.5 million base salary in 2022, with a $300,000 offseason roster bonus and up to $500,000 in weekly active roster bonuses
- Ingram also has another $500,000 in performance incentives for 2022, likely similar to the $500,000 he can earn this year by running for 750 yards ($250,000) and 1,000 yards ($250,000)
All told this is a home-run win for the Saints. They’ve brought a productive, popular player back into the fold for next to nothing. If Ingram can continue to run hard late into his career and keep an already-positive locker room upbeat, everyone walks away from this deal happy — except Texans fans, who just watched their team give away one of their best players for a pick that can’t be used until the final round of a draft 29 months away.