Philadelphia Eagles: Mark Ingram would look good in midnight green

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

After getting gouged for 137 on the ground by the Saints, why don’t the Philadelphia Eagles make a move and steal away Mark Ingram in free agency?

Back in 2013, the Philadelphia Eagles made their triumphant return to the postseason under first-year head coach Chip Kelly and were thoroughly embarrassed by the New Orleans Saints.

In a game with Nick Foles at quarterback and LeSean McCoy at running back, the Birds just couldn’t surpass Sean Payton‘s squad and watched as their postseason hopes were dashed by a walk-off Shayne Graham field goal.

This game marked the first and only time a Kelly team would make a playoff appearance, but it also highlighted some noticeable deficiencies in the Eagles’ roster construction.

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The Eagles needed playmakers on both sides of the ball if they were ever going to matchup with those pesky Saints one-on-one, and a few weeks later they did just that, signing New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins to a 3-year, $16.25-million deal on March 11th, and then trading a fifth-round pick for Darren Sproles two days later.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

The team never quite put it all together to take a step forward with their new influx of talent, largely due to Kelly’s scheme inefficiencies, but Jenkins and Sproles remained two of the Eagles’ best players for the next half-decade, and remained integral parts of their playoff run again in 2018, which once again came to a close against NO.

Maybe Howie Roseman would cue from his younger self when March 14th rolls around?

While there were a number of factors that led to the Eagles’ 20-14 loss, like giving Josh Hawkins extended minutes, Alshon Jeffery‘s fourth-quarter drop, or that 11-minute drive, the team’s inability to move the ball on the ground simply couldn’t be ignored.

After Wendell Smallwood got off to a solid start in the fourth quarter, the Eagles corp did nothing for the final 45 minutes of the match, finishing out the game with 16 attempts for 49 yards and a single touchdown, including a big old goose-egg by Josh Adams.

The Saints, on the other hand, ran young, wild, and free on Philly, amassing 137 yards on 31 carries for a 4.4 YPC average thanks to their two-headed monster of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.

Combining for 168 yards from scrimmage, Kamara finished out the game as the team’s top rushing option, but it was Ingram who was by far the more efficient runner; amassing a very good 5.9 YPC average while recording the longest run of the game at 36 yards.

That kind of efficiency would have been huge for the Eagles, as they haven’t had a rusher with that kind of efficiency since Jay Ajayi joined the squad for the back half of the 2017 season.

News flash, he’s available.

Well, technically he isn’t available today, as the Saints are still in the playoffs, but once March 14th rolls around and the new league year begins, he will be an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with whomever he’d like.

That team should be the Eagles.

You see, Ingram has been the apple of many an Eagles fan’s eye since 2010, when he was still wearing a crimson and white uniform. Many had hoped that Andy Reid would select the Heisman Trophy winner with the 23rd overall pick, but he instead chose Danny Watkins, in what may go down as the worst draft selection in franchise history.

Ingram once again became available in 2015, after his breakout first Pro Bowl season, but opted to remain in the Big Easy indefinitely, accepting a 4-year, $16 million deal early in free agency, spurning Philly fans once more.

But now, as he prepares to sign what very well could be his final big money contract in the NFL, Ingram is looking to get paid.

Though initial signs point to Ingram wanting to remain in New Orleans, money talks, and if Philly can offer a better deal, the Hackensack, New Jersey native may want to cash out and be justly compensated for his production.

You see, Ingram is just about a perfect fit in Doug Pederson‘s scheme; a violent bowling ball capable of bouncing off would be tacklers en route to a first down. With 6,007 career rushing yards and 50 touchdowns to his name, Ingram has been an essential cog in some of the most potent offensive attacks in NFL history.

Signing a player like Ingram can help to ease Carson Wentz‘s return back to the field, as an effective running game is any quarterback’s best friend. With the fear of a five-yard run ever present, opposing teams would have to stack the box more frequently, freeing more one on one looks on the outside.

Furthermore, Ingram is a perfect stopgap runner for the Eagles, because he’s been in this position before. After splitting touches with dynamic playmakers like Sproles and Kamara, Ingram is used to operating in a committee and could be an invaluable addition alongside Adams, Smallwood and Corey Clement.

With Ingram in place, Mr. Roseman could target whichever running back he deems has the highest ceiling in the 2019 NFL Draft and won’t be forced to throw them in the fire before they are ready. Will Ingram continue to average 4.5 yards a season when he’s 30, 31, or 32? Probably not, but he could still provide value in a LeGarrette Blount-esque role, a facet of the Eagles’ offense that was sorely missed in 2018.

Just how rare is an Alshon Jeffery drop?. dark. Next

Investing in Mark Ingram in March would not only help to bolster the Philadelphia Eagles’ fledgling rushing attack but also hurt the New Orleans Saints. Can you think of a better way to utilize the salary cap?