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Loomis: Mark Ingram's Saints future hinges on cap

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General manager Mickey Loomis conceded Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that Mark Ingram's future with the New Orleans Saints is "intertwined" with the impending free agent's market value as well as the club's lack of salary-cap flexibility.

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"In free agency, everyone wants to see what the market is," Loomis told The Times-Picayune. "The question is, can that get done prior to March 10? Can both sides get a good feel for that beforehand and do a deal, or do we need to wait and see where all the offers are and respond accordingly?"

In other words, Ingram will hit the open market, as expected since late October, if the two sides can't reach common ground on his value within the next three weeks.

Ingram recently told Around The NFL that his preference is to remain in New Orleans.

The Saints want him back, but have Khiry Robinson waiting in the wings if Ingram's perceived value doesn't mesh with the team's tight budget.

"Where we are cap-wise is going to dictate part of the structure for these deals," Loomis explained. "So it's all intertwined."

Still just 25 years old, Ingram was one of the NFL's most productive runners last season despite playing through a painful mid-season shoulder injury. He will be a top-30 free agent if the Saints let him test the waters.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews this week's NFL Scouting Combine with Bucky Brooks. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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