Saints sign RB West as insurance in backfield

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METAIRIE, La. – The New Orleans Saints decided to add some veteran insurance to their backfield after all, with Mark Ingram set to serve a four-game suspension at the beginning of the season.

The Saints agreed to a one-year veteran-minimum deal with former Baltimore Ravens running back Terrance West, sources confirmed. The agreement was first reported by the NFL Network, and West acknowledged his new home on Instagram.

The Saints picked West after auditioning fellow veterans Jamaal Charles, Tim Hightower and Shane Vereen this week. West, 27, will still have to beat out young running backs like Boston Scott, Trey Edmunds and Jonathan Williams, though.

Originally when Ingram’s suspension was announced, Saints coach Sean Payton said the team would not immediately sign a veteran replacement — preferring to work with their young prospects instead. But if nothing else, the Saints will want to have a veteran or two on their “ready list.”

Payton also said that he thinks it would be a “mistake” to just increase second-year pro Alvin Kamara‘s workload by 15 touches per game during Ingram’s absence after Kamara and Ingram were both so effective in their historic timeshare last season. They both went to the Pro Bowl and became the first duo ever to both surpass 1,500 yards from scrimmage in the same backfield.

Ingram was suspended for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

West is a four-year veteran who has 1,816 rushing yards, 344 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in his career with the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans and Ravens.

The 5-foot-10, 225-pounder went from a career-best 2016 season to a career-worst one last year in Baltimore, losing his starting job to Alex Collins in the process. After gaining a team-high 774 yards for the Ravens in 2016, he was held to 138 yards last year after being limited to six games.

He missed four straight games in October, which is the time when Collins started taking the lead role in the backfield. When West returned, the Ravens made him a healthy scratch for six of the last seven games.

A solid runner in between the tackles, West never consistently broke long runs and has a career 3.9-yard average. But he was an asset in the red zone, scoring seven touchdowns in 21 games for his hometown Ravens.

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley contributed to this report.



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