METAIRIE, La. — It’s now safe to say that speculation on Chris Ivory’s future status with the New Orleans Saints was spot on.
General Manager Mickey Loomis said Tuesday during his pre-draft news conference that he has fielded calls from several teams, including the New York Jets, on the availability of the running back.
But just because there have been discussions doesn’t mean Ivory will be gone the next time you turn on your computer and look at Twitter.
“There’s no deal imminent, but we have had some discussions about it simply because that’s a position of strength for us,” Loomis said.
Ivory, technically the team’s No. 4 running back, just signed his restricted free agent tender, which will cost the Saints more than $2 million.
With Ivory stuck behind Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles, that would seem to be a lot of money doled out to a part-time player, especially when considering the $123 million salary cap which the Saints sit nearly on.
“They’re four really good players,” Loomis said. “Don’t be surprised if all of them end up on the roster come September. And yet we have to pay attention to our salary cap issues there.”
Not that Ivory’s ability makes that easy.
In three seasons, he has rushed for 1,307 yards and eight touchdowns and done it in spite of limited playing time due to depth and injury. He has missed time in each season from hamstring and foot issues.
His explosiveness, however, is unmatched on the Saints’ roster at the position. In his second game of the 2012 season, he rushed for 72 yards on seven carries, capped by a brilliant 56-yard touchdown in which he outran the entirety of the Falcons defense.
Loomis said there are times when you have to look past the production, however.
“There’s always a reluctance to trade players that have been productive for us, including Chris Ivory who is the topic right now,” Loomis said. “Sometimes you have to manage your roster and manage our roster within the salary cap that we have.”