Numerous media outlets have reported that a trade sending Chris Ivory to the New York Jets is now a distinct possibility. The very talented and powerful back has never really made his mark in New Orleans despite consistent flashes when he's seen the field and that was on full display last year when despite averaging more than five yards a carry he only saw 40 attempts for the year. Between character questions, hamstring issues and ball security problems there has always seemed to be something holding him back from stardom in the NFL. More than those issues, perhaps, has been the Saints' brass refusal to fully trust him and maybe he could flourish if given a legitimate chance elsewhere.
Many of you are understandably confused about the "2nd round tender" and why the Saints would get a lower draft pick from the Jets.
The Saints have made a restricted free agent one year tender to protect themselves at the 2nd round level. This means that if any team were to sign Ivory to an offer sheet, the Saints could either match and retain his services at that contract (unlikely because they have no cap room) or elect to pass and get a 2nd round draft pick in return (this also isn't happening, either, because no one is going to give up a 2nd round pick for Ivory). As the reports have already stated, the Jets are not considering that. So what would happen here is the Saints could work out a trade with the Jets (a 4th or 5th rounder, let's say) for Ivory at which point Ivory would sign his one year tender with the Saints. The Saints would then trade him to the Jets under that one year contract for the lower draft pick.
My sense is the money isn't the issue for Ivory, it's the opportunity. He's stuck behind Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles and he saw almost zero play time as those three stayed healthy for the majority of 2013. Ivory clammored for a trade last year and he wants out of New Orleans, this much he has made clear. I know many of you are thinking "let's trade Ingram instead of Ivory" but Ingram is under contract whereas Ivory is not. The chances of getting something in return for Ivory is now. If he plays this year with the Saints, he'll be an unrestricted free agent in 2014, the Saints' cap issues will be even worse, and he will sign elsewhere for no compensation at all. That's why I'd prefer a 5th round pick now to him leaving as an unrestricted free agent next year.
I know many of you like Ivory better than Ingram, and I don't disagree. But this isn't all about talent evaluation, it's also about financial commitment, contract status and cap figures. Unfortunately, Ingram is just in a better situation than Ivory and that's the business in the NFL. Ingram has a long term deal, he fits in the cap plans and he would represent a big cap hit. Ivory is an unrestricted free agent and there's almost no chance he'll re-sign with the Saints in 2014 because the Saints have no financial flexibility to make him a fair offer and because he's already made it clear he wants out numerous times. Based on that, the Saints have to get something in return for him now. It's time to cut the chord with Ivory. It's not going to be a second round pick. Best case scenario, it will be a 4th, but I think a 5th round pick is going to be much more realistic. I'm sure the Jets will start out offering a 6th.
#29's days in black and gold appear numbered. I hope Mark Ingram can live up to his draft status now.