The Saints are signing West to a deal, according to a source informed of the situation.
The addition of West should immediately bolster a Saints running back group that will begin the regular season without Mark Ingram, who will serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The 5-foot-10, 225-pound West is set to join the group with five years of NFL experience. He entered the league in 2014 out of Towson as a third-round pick with the Cleveland Browns before being traded to the Tennessee Titans in 2015. West then joined the Baltimore Ravens in 2015 and spent three seasons with the club.
On his career, West has 1,816 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 465 attempts, averaging 3.9 yards per carry. He also has 344 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 51 career catches. West’s best season came in 2016 when he led the Ravens with a career-high 774 yards rushing.
The deal is expected to qualify for the minimum salary benefit, which means that West will cost the same as a younger player would.
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West rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns last season with the Ravens, but the 27-year-old back can help the Saints early in the year as Mark Ingram serves a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy. Last year’s rookie sensation, Alvin Kamara, will be the starter.
The Saints also hosted a visit from veteran Jamaal Charles Wednesday, and although he passed his physical, NFL.com reported both sides “decided the situation didn’t make sense at this time.”
There’s no reason for New Orleans not to lean heavily on Ingram and Kamara again in 2018. The former eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the second year in a row, while the latter had 1,554 yards from scrimmage. Kamara’s role in the offense is likely to grow, too, now that New Orleans is well aware how talented the 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year is.
Should Ingram or Kamara go down with an injury, though, the Saints can trust West to be a solid second option on the ground.
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