April 21, 2013

Ivory Signs RFA Tender, Clearing Way For Trade?

On Friday, Saints RB Chris Ivory signed his one-year, $2 million restricted free agent tender offer with the Saints.

Ivory visited with the Jets over the past week, and the two front offices have mutual interest in trading Ivory, the most tradeable of the Saints' four quality runningbacks (not including promising second-year Travaris Cadet).

A trade may not happen until day two or three of the NFL Draft, however.  The Jets had no interest in acquiring Ivory via the restricted free agent offer process, which would have carried a second round draft pick compensation.  But the Saints could always trade Ivory to runningback-needy New York for any terms they desire, likely a mid-to-late draft pick.

The Jets may want to require a conditional draft pick compensation in the 2014 draft, but the Saints have a desperate need for picks this year.  With only five draft picks for the 2013 draft, the Saints are in need of cheap players to rebuild a defense with, and are counting on every draft pick to make a difference.

The Jets may wait until the later rounds before executing the trade for Ivory, so that they could rule out finding a draftable rookie they like with surprising value.  Also potentially delaying the trade are the negotiations between the Jets and Bucs for New York CB Darrelle Revis.

The Saints fielded a five-deep depth chart at runningback in 2012, led by Darren Sproles, 2011 first round pick Mark Ingram, veteran Pierre Thomas, Ivory and undrafted rookie Cadet.  As a result, no player averaged more than 10 carries per game.  Ivory was limited to six games due to injury and toted the ball only 40 times for a 5.4 yard/carry average, leading the Saints.  The Saints ranked 25th in rushing offense, struggling to maintain a run/pass balance early in the season.

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