The 2019 NFL league year doesn't officially start until Wednesday afternoon, but a ton of NFL moves and agreements are already being made. The New Orleans Saints are moving on from running back Mark Ingram and bringing in Latavius Murray in his place. As soon as that agreement with Murray was announced, it didn't take long for a favorite to emerge in the pursuit of Ingram.
As reported by NFL.com, the Saints and former Minnesota Vikings running back Latavius Murray have agreed to a deal for $14.4 million over four years. The Saints had hoped to bring back Ingram, who wanted to return, but financial terms could not be agreed upon.
Ingram is reportedly looking in the market of $7 million a year, and that's simply out of the financial restraints of the Saints. He comes up just shy of the franchise's all-time rushing lead, and he finishes with 6,007 yards on the ground for New Orleans.
Some consider the 29-year-old Murray, who is the same age as Ingram, as a downgrade at the running back position. Still, the primary back for the Saints will now be Alvin Kamara with Murray coming in as more of an early-down and strength role for the team.
Kamara and Ingram had shared the majority of the snaps over the last two seasons. Murray's signing will likely increase the number of minutes on the field for Kamara as Sean Payton figures out his new-look offense.
Mark Ingram is going to generate a great deal of interest on the open market and actually already has before the Saints had moved on. On Monday, five teams were going after Mark Ingram - Saints, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears.
According to The Times-Picayune, the Ravens have now emerged as the frontrunner to sign Ingram. Baltimore is also one of the teams reportedly going after free agent running back Le'Veon Bell, who is formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Baltimore may find Ingram to be more of a bargain when it comes to financial terms.
New Orleans was offering $4 million per season, which is around what he was being paid on his last contract. Baltimore reportedly offered more than that already, which is why the Saints went after Murray.
NFL free agency hasn't even fully begun for 2019, but there are already plenty of moves being made and contracts being put in place. The New Orleans Saints are once again flying under the radar and making moves that may not seem big now but could pay off in the long run. For now, they are saving money with Latavius Murray while Mark Ingram may end up finding a new home with the Baltimore Ravens.