What is Clint Ingram's Play Here?



According to Michael C. Wright of the Florida Times-Union this morning, Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Clint Ingram still has not signed his restricted free agent (RFA) offer sheet.  The deadline has passed for RFA's to negotiate with other teams and they now can only exclusively negotiate with the team that tendered them.  So, Clint Ingram can negotiate only with the Jacksonville Jaguars now, but I'm not quite sure what his move is in this case. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded up and drafted Clint Ingram in the 3rd round (80th overall) in the 2006 NFL draft. Ingram wound up starting 11 games his rookie season for the Jaguars and looked like he'd fit right into the linebacking corps as a playmaker. Unfortunately for Ingram, he's never finished a full 16 game season due to constant injuries.  Not only that, but Ingram's play seemed to have peaked his rookie year.  He posted his highest tackle total in 2006 and hasn't come close to it since.

So, when the Jaguars decided to give Clint Ingram the original round tender, which would pay him $1.266 million dollars in 2010 if he signed, it seemed like no big deal.  Either he'd sign his tender and get one last season to prove himself to the staff after having been benched in favor of undrafted rookie Russell Allen, or he would sign with another team and the Jaguars would get a 3rd round pick.  The latter seemed highly unlikely to happen, but not signing his tender after the deadline didn't seem likely either.

I don't quite understand what Clint Ingram's play is in this situation. He really has no leverage for anything.  While Ingram did show good faith by signing an injury waiver to participate in the Jaguars off-season conditioning program, he's still got no juice when it comes to the negotiating table.  As I mentioned before he's been hampered by constant injuries during his short career in Jacksonville.  His play peaked his rookie season, and an undrafted free agent got more and more playing time over him as the season went on.  Now, I think Russell Allen is a talented player with good upside, but he shouldn't be forcing a 3rd round draft pick off the field.

The only team Clint Ingram can sign with now is the Jacksonville Jaguars, and barring a trade which can't occur until he signs, I don't understand his positioning. Sure, it could all be coming from his agent, but again it makes zero sense.  Jacksonville can always rescind the offer and make Clint Ingram an unrestricted free agent, but there is no reason for Jacksonville to do so.

So I ask: Clint Ingram, what is your move?

I don't get it.

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