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When you look at the Giants’ priorities in improving the roster this offseason, backup running backs would probably be at the bottom of the checklist – and for good reason.
Dave Gettleman is looking to give Daniel Jones more playmakers to throw to, add pass rushing help, and continue to fortify the offensive line.
But could that position be bumped up the list with Mark Ingram on the free agent market?
The 31-year-old veteran back was released by the Baltimore Ravens, who are moving in a younger direction with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards in their backfield. Because of that, Ingram was the third man on the depth chart this past season and was barely used.
The Giants also have Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis hitting free agency as well, leaving a potential void.
Speaking with FOX Sports’ Charlotte Wilder, Ingram said he is fresh heading into free agency and ready for his next opportunity.
“I'm healthy going into free agency. I'm fresh going into free agency. I'm very motivated going into free agency,” he said. “So I don't know what the future may behold, but I'm excited about it. I know I could play the game at a high level for many more years.
“So I just want to go to a team that wants me, team that has a winning culture, team that has aspirations to be champions and I'm going to bring my best package forward as a player for that team and bring my best package forward as a person for that locker room, for that community and put my best foot forward.”
Ingram should have a pretty active market, but it will most likely be for a backup role. Based off his qualifications, the Giants definitely proved their culture changed in 2020 under new head coach Joe Judge, but six wins doesn’t mean “winning” can go in front of that.
However, the Giants do have the pieces to win more games than they did last season, and a healthy offense that should see upgrades could step up their play to that of the defense, which exceeded expectations under Patrick Graham.
Ingram also might like the prospect of playing with Saquon Barkley, who should be back healthy by training camp after tearing his ACL in Week 2 last season. He’s one of the most dynamic backs in the league when he’s on the field, and Ingram’s aggressive, north-south running style that has an elusive nature to it would be a great complement to Barkley.
Another plus for the Giants is the relatively low mileage on Ingram despite 2021 being his 11th year in the league. The most touches he’s had in a season was 230 in 2017 with the Saints. He topped 200 in 2019 with the Ravens for 1,018 yards, which shows that he can still produce quality runs. And given his time with Drew Brees, he had his fair share of receiving yards, too, which is a plus for any reserve back in the league.
Gallman did play well when he took over a brunt of the workload in the backfield when Barkley went down last year. But Ingram might actually come cheaper and adds a leadership role that Barkley and the rest of the team could benefit from.
If the Giants want to continue their culture change, signing someone like Ingram – as long as the price is right – would do just that. His production on the field and voice off of it fits the bill.