The Saints like Mark Ingram, just not enough to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.
So since they made a financial decision, he’s making one as well.
The former first-round running back said he’s using his pending free agency as fuel going into the coming season.
“It’s motivation,” Ingram said, via Christopher Dabe of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I’m coming up on a contract year. I’m an unrestricted free agent after this year, so we’ll see what happens.”
Picking up the option would have put them on the hook for $5.2 million, and nothing Ingram has shown so far indicates he’s worth that.
“Like they said, they really like me as a player,” Ingram said. “Just the (salary) number was a little high for what a running back gets on the free-agent market.”
When established backs are struggling to get paid, it’s hard to imagine what the actual market would be for Ingram. He has 1,462 yards and 11 touchdowns in three seasons. Getting that in one would move him toward the neighborhood of what the option year would have paid.
He’s shown flashes of talent, but in his current situation, he might not ever be able to maximize his skills, or his earning potential.