After a long night for Baltimore fans which included listening to Le’Veon Bell’s mixtape, the Ravens have agreed to terms with running back Mark Ingram and safety Earl Thomas.
Ingram signed a three-year, $15 million contract. While Ingram will turn 30 in December, the Ravens should be able to capitalize on the former Heisman trophy winner’s prime. After a pair of seasons sharing the backfield with star Alvin Kamara, Ingram should still have enough tread on his tires to help the Ravens fully complete their transition into the Lamar Jackson era. Ingram should be used as the top of a running back by committee set up with Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon rotating in and generating production.
By acquiring Ingram, the Ravens satisfy the need for a running back without sending 17 trucks for a contract of Le’Veon Bell. The Ravens could still look at drafting a running back in April, but Josh Jacobs and other highly rated backs are probably off the radar of the reigning AFC North champions.
After the release of safety Eric Weddle, many analysts concluded that the Ravens defense was to be purged in the era of Lamar Jackson. With the signing of Earl Thomas from Seattle, the Ravens are taking a stand squarely in the land of Contenderville. Thomas’s contract of four years, 55 million dollars runs until the safety is 33. In his short 2018 season, Thomas played at an elite level, earning one of the highest safety grades from Pro Football Focus. Thomas’s season ended abruptly after a broken leg and an extended middle finger out of frustration towards his own bench.
Thomas, a six-time Pro Bowler, acts as a like-for-like replacement for the Weddle. While Thomas is five years removed from his last appearance on the All-Pro team, he still is in contention for best safety in the NFL. Over the course of his career, Thomas has been durable, only missing seven games in his first eight seasons. Despite the potential for decline, Thomas keeps the Ravens afloat as an elite secondary unit. Thomas and incumbent strong safety, Tony Jefferson, should form a dynamic duo which has the versatility to cover the pass and lock down the run.
With the acquisition of two high-profile free agents, the Ravens seem to be positioning to maximize talents around the young core of Jackson, Edwards, Ronnie Stanley, Michael Pierce, and Marlon Humphrey. Time will tell, but as of now, the Ravens have had a successful free agency period.