One of the most underrated players heading into 2013 free agency, New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory will be looking to land a gig as someone’s No. 1 runner when March 12 rolls around. If the Saints know what’s best for them, though, he shouldn’t get the opportunity.
While Ivory hasn’t had too many opportunities to showcase his talents, the former undrafted back has plenty to offer an NFL offense. With an explosive running style and the ability to hit a home run at any given moment, Ivory is a star waiting to shine. Unfortunately, for the past three seasons, he’s been stuck in the logjam that is the Saints’ running back depth chart.
What the Saints need to do is re-sign Ivory and make him a priority in their offense. Since entering the league in 2010, the 24-year old out of Tiffin University has received only 288 offensive touches (256 carries, 32 catches). Not only did he show that he can make the most of his limited attempts (career 5.1 yards per carry average), but Ivory also has fresh legs and could easily shoulder a full-time load for the next three or four seasons assuming he doesn’t fall to injury.
Ivory has the potential to be better than Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles if given the opportunity. The only question at this point is whether or not the Saints find the courage to clear up the clutter, re-sign Ivory and let the youngster do what he does best. In my opinion, that would be the best case scenario moving forward for New Orleans.
If the Saints don’t re-sign Ivory, it’s likely that a runner-needy team like the Green Bay Packers will throw a significant amount of money at him and make him their feature back. If that does happen, the Saints will be forced to field a patchwork ground game, which obviously isn’t working for them.
The decision is theirs to make; whether or not they make the right choice is still to be seen.