There aren't enough seats at the table in New Orleans' crowded backfield. Someone's going to be left out, and that man is probably going to be Chris Ivory.
As I write this, one of my "Ivory-dreads" of fandom has fallen out due to sadness over the thought of losing Chris Ivory to the crowded cluster that makes up the New Orleans Saints running back situation.
That seems to be the impending reality that Who Dat Nation will have to come to grips with sooner rather than later. The Tiffin product is a restricted free agent who will get a tender from the team, but don't expect it to be of the first round variety of tenders for the undrafted free agent.
That last part, undrafted, is what makes the tender decision difficult. The other two tenders that can be given to players are a second round and a "whichever round you were drafted in" one. That and the amount of money between the two tenders are going to make the decision tough.
The second round tender is $2.023 million, and the original round tender is $1.323 million.
$700,000 might not seem like much of a difference between tenders, but it is when you are talking about a running back stable that already has three other guys making at least $2 million sharing carries with another young, potential-filled player in Travaris Cadet.
I'm sure the team would love to get something back for him, but I don't see that happening. Even if the Saints were to tender Ivory with the second round tag, that doesn't necessarily mean they will get a second round pick back for him. They could stand firm in asking for that much, but no one is going to pay that much for an oft-injured back. Sorry.
That would be a mere starting point in trade negotiations. That seems like the slam dunk choice, right?
Maybe, but think about this: What happens if they tender him with that amount and no trade partners materialize?
New Orleans would then be stuck with four $2 million+ running backs, and the same cluster they are in now with no outlook for the future besides rolling the enigma that is Mark Ingram. That would be a bad situation going forward, not to mention hinder the development of Cadet.
That is why it doesn't look like Ivory will be back in the Black and Gold next year. And that's a shame.
His career started off with so much promise. He had over 700 yards on under 140 carries with 5 touchdowns in only 12 appearances in 2010. He reminded so many of Deuce McAllister in the way he attacked the line and refused to go down. He also had some quickness and burst to go along with that power, and that combo had a lot of people in Who Dat Nation excited about the next, great Saints running back.
That quickly fizzled towards the end of that year and into the next with his college injury-woes creeping back up. He could not seem to stay healthy until 2012. He'd give Saints fans one last glimmer of hope, but soon succumb to the injury bug.
Think about it like this: Ivory was given a shortened season last year, and he still couldn't stay healthy. He was also a healthy scratch from the lineup early in the year, as well. That further highlights where Ivory stands amongst the other backs in the stable.
With that being said, New Orleans kept Ivory and five running backs for a reason, and I don't think the roster spot that he took up last year was for naught. I expect them to have something lined up with another team to get some compensation back for Ivory.
Even though he won't be a part of the Saints future, anything he could bring back in a trade would, at least, let Who Dat Nation know that the Chris Ivory experiment wasn't a complete failure.