The Baltimore Ravens announced that they’ve 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.
The source said the deal includes $32 million fully guaranteed at signing, with $22 million coming in the first nine months.
Ingram also intends to sign a three-year, $15 million deal with the Ravens, a source told Schefter and ESPN’s Dianna Russini. Ingram was likely to leave New Orleans following reports on Tuesday that running back Latavius Murray plans to sign with the Saints.
Sources told ESPN’s Mike Triplett that Ingram wanted more from the Saints than the three-year, $15 million deal he has agreed to with the Ravens and did not give New Orleans a counteroffer in that range. The Saints felt they had to move on to their four-year, $14.4 million contract agreement with Murray so they didn’t risk losing out on him, too. A source said the Saints’ best offer to Ingram was for four years and $17 million, with only $5 million guaranteed.
Thomas appeared to reference his deal with a tweet Wednesday that included the money-bag emoji. He also tweeted a goodbye to Seattle.
Yeaaaaaaaa !! 💰🙏🏾
— Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) March 13, 2019
Thank you Seattle for the love and memories that my family and I will never forget… ❤️☔️
— Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) March 13, 2019
Thomas’ 2018 season ended Sept. 30 when he broke his left leg — the same leg he broke in December 2016 — while defending a pass in the end zone against the Arizona Cardinals. He had surgery a few days later.
Thomas, who turns 30 in May, made six Pro Bowls in his nine seasons with the Seahawks and was named first-team All-Pro three times. His 28 career interceptions rank third among all players since 2010, when he was drafted with the 14th overall pick out of Texas. His 107 consecutive starts from 2010 to 2016 are the second-longest streak in franchise history.
Thomas will return to CenturyLink Field this season, as the Ravens are slated to visit the Seahawks.
The arrival of Thomas gives the Ravens their best ball hawk since Hall of Famer Ed Reed left after the 2012 Super Bowl season.
Thomas will fill the void left by Eric Weddle, who was cut last week. It’s also a big step toward rebuilding last season’s top-ranked defense, which lost linebackers C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in the first two days of free agency.
The Ravens also got their targeted running back in Ingram. A source said Baltimore was never involved in negotiations with former Steeler Le’Veon Bell and always had its sights on the Saints free agent.
The move will be characterized as a letdown by many after Baltimore didn’t land Bell, but Ingram has been an efficient runner, a big-time producer in the red zone and a valuable leader. He is the type of durable, physical back who fits perfectly in the Ravens’ running-back-by-committee system.
Ingram ends Baltimore’s patchwork tinkering at running back over the past four years, which included contributions from Justin Forsett, Terrance West, Alex Collins and Gus Edwards. Ingram also comes at a more moderate price than Bell, allowing the Ravens to address other needs as they build a supporting cast around quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Adam Schefter discusses Mark Ingram’s intention to sign a three-year contract with the Ravens to become the lead back in Baltimore.
Veteran running backs have often thrived under new Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy enjoyed some of their best seasons with Roman as the playcaller.
Thomas has drawn comparisons to Reed throughout his career because of his great range. His ability to cover lots of ground should allow safety Tony Jefferson to play closer to the line of scrimmage.
Despite his stellar résumé — Thomas is a shoo-in for the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor when his playing days are over — his departure this offseason was considered a given following the tumultuous events of the past 15 months.
After a Christmas Eve win over Dallas in 2017, Thomas tracked down Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and told him to “come get me” if he was to become available. Thomas then missed the 2018 offseason program and training camp in protest of his contract situation, twice making public pleas for the Seahawks to either extend him or trade him as he entered the final year of a four-year, $40 million deal.
He returned from his holdout just before Seattle’s season opener. After two interceptions in a Week 3 win over the Cowboys, Thomas told reporters that his absences in practice that week were tied to his displeasure over his contract, saying he needed to protect himself and that he would have been practicing if the Seahawks were invested in him like he was invested in himself.
As he was being taken off the field on a cart after breaking his leg in Week 4, television cameras showed Thomas extending his middle finger toward Seattle’s sideline. It would be the last image of him in a Seahawks uniform.
Ingram turns 30 in December, which can be a taboo number for a running back. But the two-time Pro Bowler, 2011 first-round draft pick and former Heisman Trophy winner has played some of his best football over the past three seasons.
Plus, his mileage has been somewhat minimized by having spent much of his eight-year career with the Saints in time-shares — including his historic pairing with Alvin Kamara over the past two seasons.
Kamara congratulated Ingram in a tweet Tuesday.
Aye I gotta pay my rent… and my light bill…. and I got 6 girlfriends, I needa get dem situated. Lemme hold sum sir @MarkIngram22 💰 😂 love you bro congrats. You finna be cold as hell.
— Alvin Kamara (@A_kamara6) March 13, 2019
In 2017, they became the first duo to each surpass 1,500 yards from scrimmage in the same backfield, when Ingram ran for career highs of 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. Last season, Ingram became more of a No. 2 back after returning from a four-game suspension to start the season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He finished with 645 rushing yards, 170 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 12 games.
Ingram also is respected off the field, as he was the Saints’ 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee.
Due to the Saints’ crowded backfield as well as a series of nagging injuries, Ingram’s career got off to a slow start in New Orleans. But it really started to take off when he became the lead back in 2014 and was able to show off his versatility as both a runner and pass-catcher.
Ingram broke Deuce McAllister’s franchise record with his 50th rushing touchdown late last season, and his 6,007 career rushing yards are fewer than 100 yards shy of another franchise record. He also has 1,598 career receiving yards and five TD catches.
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, Brady Henderson and Mike Triplett contributed to this report.