Possible Saints Free Agent Acquisition Clint Ingram: Hard to Love

During his 'State of the Union' press conference in early March, Mickey Loomis identified linebacker (along with defensive end) as a position of need to be addressed this off-season...

We have a need at both of those positions [linebacker and defensive end]...Hopefully we’ll be able to fill both of those spots between free agency and the draft.

Yet it's now mid-May and the Saints have done nothing at the linebacker position other than the addition of undrafted free agents Harry Coleman and Sam Maxwell. Hardly what I would call a serious effort. 

In late April the Saints hosted Jacksonville Jaguars free agent linebacker Clint Ingram, who left without a contract. But we learned yesterday via Jason LaCanfora's tweet that Ingram has an offer to play in New Orleans and is seriously giving it consideration. Not a surprise if you follow our local sports reporters closely however; they always get the scoop before the national guys. All joking aside, Jeff Duncan was aware of the teams interest in Ingram and said so on May 10th, also via Twitter...

Ingram is the target. Weighing injury concerns right now.    

Obviously, this makes sense. Ingram is another former player of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from his one year coaching stint in Jacksonville. 

So who is this guy and is he really a good fit for the Saints? Shut up, read on and find out. 

Why is he available?

A restricted free agent at the start of the off-season, the Jaguars offered Ingram an original-round tender - which for Ingram was the third round - so it's not like he was completely unwanted in Jacksonville. Feeling undervalued though, he refused to sign the tender and let the deadline to sign pass. Late last month, Jacksonville rescinded their tender offer, making Ingram an unrestricted free agent; a bizarre move, given his rights would had reverted back to Jacksonville's and they could have gotten their starter back for even less money than the original tender. Two days later, however, he was in New Orleans. Ingram was placed on injured reserve last year after a shoulder injury but my guess is that the arthroscopic knee surgery he underwent this off-season is more of the concern. 

 

How much will he cost?

Clint Ingram's original-round tender offer from the Jags was valued at $1.266 million for one year, so it's hard to imagine he would command any more than that and chances are it will be less. It might be the comfort and security of a multi-year contract that's most important to Ingram and what eventually lands him in New Orleans. Regardless, I haven't heard of any other teams interested in the linebacker so Ingram is certainly not in the drivers seat. SB Nation's Jaguars blog, Big Cat Country, has some words of advice...

Take home message is this: Don't overpay... He's not worth it.

 If he signs with the Saints, look for it to be valued at just over one million dollars a year. 

 

Is he any good?

This is a tough question. Unlike the overwhelming endorsement I gave Alex Brown before the Saints eventually, and wisely I might add, signed the former Bears defensive end, I just can't do the same for Clint Ingram. After a great 2008, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio called Ingram's 2009 season 'a disappointing year." Not what you want to hear. 

Though he may very well be the best of the rest on the free agent market right now, the fans in Jacksonville don't seem to be too crazy about him either. Again, the word 'disappoint' seems to be a recurring theme

If there was one player who disappointed more than any other last year, it was Clint Ingram. While Ingram was never a great all around linebacker, he was supposed to be the best of the bunch against the run. However, he failed to show even that this year. He was rated as one of the worst linebackers in the NFL according to PFF, and was replaced by Russell Allen at the end of the year.

Perhaps we're unfairly judging him. Like Jonathan Vilma with the Jets, Ingram has been stuck playing in a 3-4 with the Jaguars, a scheme that doesn't best suit his skill set. That may not be an excuse, however...

He clearly wasn't a 3-4 LB, and physically couldn't play it. He's developed into purely a power run stuffer, and he took poor angles on many occasions last season.What shocks me is that when the team went exclusively 4-3, he still struggled.

Formerly known for his superb ability at stopping the run, even that was severely lacking during last years let-down performance. These shortcomings were apparently evident as early as the middle of last season when he was labeled 'a rusty cog that needs changing' by bloggers and fans... 

Poor play in the 4-3 defensive scheme is not what we expect from you. You've been part of the reason our run defense has been successful, and you were fair against the pass coming out of college. Neither has been the case this season, and the latter hasen't been the case since your second-year. Either your speed has altogether faltered, or you're over-thinking plays. I'm hoping it's just because you have been forced to learn so many defensive alignments and responsibilities as the Jaguars continue their yearly defensive coordinator carousel. 

You getting the picture? Not great. 

 

Should the Saints sign him?

As much as it pains me to say it: probably. The Saints are getting into 'desperate' territory here. They sure as hell need to do something and this appears to be their best opportunity so I say pull the trigger and hope for the best. 

 

Here are some facts and figures for the stat geeks out there:

Clint Ingram

#51 / Jacksonville Jaguars

6-2

240

Mar 21, 1983

High School: Hallsville HS (Texas)

 

Stats courtesy of NFL.com

Career Statsmore
Season Team Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
G GS Comb Total Ast Sck SFTY PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF
2009 Jacksonville Jaguars 13 12 52 42 10 1.0 -- 0 -- -- 0.0 -- -- 0
2008 Jacksonville Jaguars 16 12 38 33 5 2.0 -- 0 -- -- 0.0 -- -- 1
2007 Jacksonville Jaguars 13 11 33 29 4 1.0 0 1 1 39 39.0 39T 1 0
2006 Jacksonville Jaguars 14 11 71 55 16 1.5 -- 2 1 0 0.0 0 0 0
TOTAL 194 159 35 5.5 0 3 2 39 -- 39 1 1

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