The Baltimore Ravens announced Wednesday that they agreed to terms with former Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas and former New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram.
Thomas intends to sign a four-year, $55 million contract with the Ravens, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Ingram plans to sign a three-year, $15 million deal with the Ravens, a source told Schefter and ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
It didn’t take long for the Ravens’ graphics department to show the social media world what their new stars would look like in black and purple.
No numbers are official at this time. At first glance, it’s easy to draw comparisons to previous Baltimore stars in safety Ed Reed and running back Ray Rice.
Thomas was brought to Baltimore to replicate the ball-hawking defense of Hall of Fame Reed. Both are in the 5-foot-10/5-foot-11 range and around 200 pounds. Reed compiled 643 total tackles and 64 interceptions in his 11-year career.
Thomas, on the other hand, has only taken 9 years to rack up 684 total stops, though his 28 picks doesn’t even approach Reed’s. Both have made their names on crunching hits over the middle of the field.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com also noticed the similarities, saying that Thomas to Baltimore “just feels right.”
I love when an all-time great is allowed a chance to author a memorable second chapter to his career. I love when a franchise continues a rich tradition of greatness at a position. The Ravens’ signing of Earl Thomas accomplished both.
From Ed Reed to Eric Weddle to Earl Thomas, the Ravens’ attacking defense has always been anchored by a center fielder who can run the show and cover ground. Reed and Thomas are two of the greatest to ever do it. Weddle’s release makes more sense following this move, with Thomas now able to prey on the confusion that quarterbacks feel when they go up against Baltimore’s blitzes.
Thomas’ signing combines his services with the likes of burgeoning talent in Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Tavon Young and Tony Jefferson. Rosenthal continued to posture that the Ravens may now have the deepest secondary in the league.
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco disagreed, giving the deal a “C+” grade.
“This one is perplexing to me,” he write. “Thomas has been a great player, but he turns 30 in May and he’s had some injury issues. Yet the Ravens are giving him a reported $32-million in guaranteed money on a four-year deal.”
Meanwhile, Ingram possesses a very similar build and skillset to Rice. Both are under 6-foot, have run sub-4.5 40-yard dashes and will likely wear numbers in the 20’s.
Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, carries more mass than Rice did (215 versus 195 pounds). Rice quit football after a public domestic violence incident with his wife in an elevator.
In addition, both have put up remarkably similar stat lines. In 6 years, Rice amassed 6,180 rushing yards and 37 scores, as well as 3,034 receiving yards.
In 8 seasons, Ingram has also ecliped 6,000 career yards on the ground, punching in 50 touchdowns. He’s added nearly 1,600 yards receiving, as well.
Rosenthal also praised this move, though cautioned that now Baltimore management needs to address the wide receiver corps.
The Ravens have more moves to make on both sides of the ball, but agreeing to terms with Mark Ingram was a step in the right direction. He didn’t cost anything more than Latavius Murray did in New Orleans and fits the rugged mold of running backs that have thrived in Baltimore. Ingram figures to share the workload with Gus Edwards and Lamar Jackson for an attack that is the early favorite to lead the league in carries again. Now they just need to find some receivers for Jackson to throw to.
If head coach John Harbaugh and company bolster the league’s No. 22 passing offense, optimism should grow for the Ravens to progress past the AFC Wild Card next fall.