The Ravens just shelled out $15 million to running back Mark Ingram, but their work in the backfield doesn't appear to be over.
Speaking at the owners meetings in Arizona earlier this week, head coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens would still like to add another change-of-pace running back.
"I like the idea of adding a shifty, third-down, home-run type hitter type guy," Harbaugh said. "We may have him already. ... I wouldn't be surprised if we added a back into the mix and let him compete."
Ingram, an eight-year veteran, immediately becomes the most experienced running back in a group that includes Gus Edwards, Kenneth Dixon, De'Lance Turner and Tyler Ervin. Ty Montgomery and Buck Allen are unrestricted free agents, and Alex Collins was released after his arrest earlier this month on gun and drug charges.
Ingram, who was signed to a three-year deal earlier this month, has a pair of 1,000-yard seasons to his credit. Edwards is coming off a breakout rookie season in which he led the Ravens with 718 rushing yards, with almost all of that coming during the final seven games when Lamar Jackson was the starting quarterback.
Dixon, meanwhile, ran for a career-best 117 yards in the regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns, but he has missed 26 of 32 games the past two years with knee injuries and had to serve a pair of suspensions while injured.
When Dixon was placed on injured reserve after Week 1, it was Turner, not Edwards, who was promoted from the practice squad. Edwards was still dealing with a training camp injury, and Turner had flashed late in the preseason, including a 65-yard touchdown run at Miami. But Turner had just one carry in four games before being placed on injured reserve, which opened the door for Edwards, who was promoted from the practice squad in Week 6.
Speaking at the owners meetings, Harbaugh suggested that Turner, who like Edwards was signed as an undrafted rookie, could be a factor this season.
"We had a pretty good rookie last year who got hurt early in the season," Harbaugh said, referring to Turner. "I like him, too."
The Ravens this offseason are rebuilding their offense "from the ground up," according to offensive coordinator Greg Roman, but the running game anchored by versatile quarterback Lamar Jackson and downhill, no-nonsense runners such as Edwards figure to remain the central element.
But what the Ravens lacked last year was a breakaway back who could hit a hole and then outrun the secondary. Their longest touchdown run by a running back last year covered 14 yards. It would be surprising to see the Ravens use their No. 22 overall pick on a running back at this point given their other needs, but it's clear that they welcome competition in the backfield and could enter the season with four or more of them on the 53-man roster.
"As far as running backs nowadays," Roman said, "I do think you've got to have a stable of them."
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