Player contracts routinely have bonuses or other incentives tied to performance and production, with triggers ranging from personal statistics to team achievements to individual recognition, like making it to the Pro Bowl. Sometimes, the terms of the contract become very creative — and potentially very significant.
For Saints running back Mark Ingram, who’s in the midst of a career year, the stakes are high. If he’s named a first-team All-Pro, Ingram’s contract voids, and he becomes a free agent, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.
Ingram has 806 rushing yards through 10 games; his career best came last year, with 1,043. As Triplett notes, however, Ingram has been particularly productive the past six games. If he can duplicate that performance, he’ll finish the year with 1,442 yards.
His current contract expires after 2018, at a base salary next year of $4 million. He signed the current four-year, $16 million deal to stay with the Saints after his rookie contract expired, and after the Saints didn’t pick up his fifth-year option.
That time around, there were no other significant suitors for the Heisman winner’s services. But Ingram’s contract consisted of only 964 yards. This time, a 1,400-plus yard season, capped with strong performances in the playoffs, could result in greater demand.
Rams running back Todd Gurley sits only 15 yards behind Ingram, and their teams dual today at 4:25 p.m. ET. If Ingram has the better day — and if his team gets the better of the Rams — that would help give Ingram the edge over a running back who had generated much more early-season cachet.
Ultimately, the decision will be made by the 50 media members who vote on the Associated Press All-Pro team, making what often is a meaningless process slightly more meaningful. Especially for Mark Ingram, and for the Saints.