Saints’ Ivory signs contract, but Jets still interested in trade

Saints running back Chris Ivory, a restricted free agent, on Friday signed the one-year tender offer that he received from the team in March.

The deal paves the way for Ivory to be traded by the Saints, and apparently the New York Jets are interested.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported Friday evening that the Jets are “interested in acquiring the bruising 26-year-old running back for a lower draft choice.”

Ivory visited the Jets’ training facility on April 12, but they weren’t interested in parting with a second-round pick to obtain his services.

Ivory, who was the Saints leading rusher in 2010 when he made the roster as an undrafted free agent, was offered a one-year deal for $2.023 million with a second-round draft pick as compensation.

Ivory, however, was eligible to receive an offer from any other team until Friday. If he had received an offer, the Saints would have had a chance to match it or get a second-round pick in return.

The 6-foot, 222-pound Ivory had 137 carries for 716 yards with five touchdowns and was a consensus NFL All-Rookie team pick in 2010. In three seasons with the Saints, he has 1,307 yards and 10 TDs.

His 5.1 yards per carry average for his career ranks third in franchise history.