Late last week, the Miami Dolphins and fullback Alec Ingold agreed to a three-year contract extension that runs through the 2026 season. The deal, which is worth up to $17.2 million, makes Ingold the highest-paid fullback in the league and reinforces Miami’s commitment not just to Ingold but to the fullback position as well.
After news broke of the new contract, Ingold met with the media and confirmed the deal came together fairly quickly. “It was right in between meetings and practice,” Ingold explained of how he learned the deal was done. “It was one of those things, I had to call wifey, had to call my parents real quick, let them know something was happening and then go to work. That’s the compartmentalization of football – you can’t sacrifice or let your head be anywhere but where your feet are at. So it was a fun day at practice today, getting on the field running around with the guys. I get a long weekend to soak this one in and then get ready for Week 1. So it’s pretty cool timing.”
He continued, “It’s in the back of your head whenever you’re heading into a contract year that whatever motivating factors can get a player ready to play a season, you want to use it to the best of your ability. So whether that’s playing time, whether you have individual goals, team goals, financial goals, all of it kind of plays into an offseason that you want to put together. In a contract year, it’s almost like your back is on the wall a little bit. When you have that pressure, when you have different circumstances popping up where it’s not as stable, or it’s not as certain, I think that’s where that uncomfortable nature kind of forces people to be the best versions of themselves. I keep talking about that all the time, but I truly believe that that’s a thing. So having an agent, putting a team together personally, so that I can just worry about doing what I love to do, which is hitting people, catching the ball, running for my guys. That’s really how it all came together. Yeah, it was just as quick as nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing all the way, and then all of a sudden, you snap your fingers, it’s time to go and sign a contract.”
Ingold played in all 17 games for Miami last year, his first with the team, after spending three years with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders. His 2021 season was limited to just nine games with the Raiders when an ACL injury sidelined him. The knee injury and an in-season thumb injury likely slowed Ingold some, but it did not hold him back and he fits perfectly with what head coach Mike McDaniel wants from the position. In a league where the fullback seems to be falling by the wayside, Miami is committed to having a lead blocker, a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, and a player who can serve as a tight end/h-back type of player.
“There were some dark moments on the rehab table, trying to straighten out those legs and be able to walk again,” Ingold said of his battle back following his injury followed by his release and free agency. “Then you’re on the street trying to find a new opportunity, new job. To come into a place that supports you and the way that you can believe in yourself and really just amplifies and empowers you to be the best version of yourself, I think that’s what I fell into and got extremely lucky to be here. You just show up to work every single day with the guys in the room, doing it for something bigger than yourself, and all of a sudden, the time flies by. The growth happens, the plays happen on the field, and then you’re able to kind of grow into that potential which has been extremely rewarding and fun journey up to this point.”
Miami’s vision of the fullback position ties back to McDaniel’s time with Kyle Shanahan, most recently with Shanahan as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and McDaniel as the run-game coordinator from 2017 through 2020 and as offensive coordinator in 2021. During that time, 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk was selected to five Pro Bowls.
“When I first got here and all we were watching was 49ers clips all the time, and I was already all over that ‘Juice’ (Juszczyk) tape, watching it forwards, backwards, up and down,” Ingold said of how the Dolphins view the fulback postion. “Being able to go through a full year of this offense and this system, to put your fingerprint on it, to be able to watch yourself go through all of those things for this offseason was amazing. And then the opportunity to be able to like ‘Okay, this is what we did in the game that worked. This is what didn’t work,’ and really improve off of that. So it did not take long, it took me about a day. But it’s cool to be a part of this offense, to be a part of a system where a coach appreciates the different skillset that you can bring.”
The descriptions of Ingold now include the phrase “highest-paid fullback.” How does Ingold feel about that label? “Labels, dollar amounts, values that other people can put on you, I don’t think in the slightest that impacts the way I show up to work and the way I do my job,” he answered. “I’m a process-oriented guy, so no matter what the salary is, no matter what the signing bonus is, you’re going to get the best out of me, because that’s the human being that I am. Now do I get that financial stability in the place that I get to put my all into and a community that I get to be a part of for four more years? Heck, yeah. So I’m going to go all in, even that much more, because there’s not one foot out the door. There’s no other thoughts besides being a Dolphin. I think whatever title or tag or circumstance that you can throw on a highest-paid this or highest-paid that, it can’t impact the process and the way you show up to work.”
That does not mean the rest of the team did not react to the news that Ingold received a large extension. “The running back room was the first to know which was really cool,” Ingold stated. “To be able to go to work with those guys every day, and to be able to share that moment with those guys was special. And then it’s the guys you’re sitting at the lockers with after that. The big smiles meant the world. Just to know that they care about you, and the way that you show up to work impacts the way they show up to work. Being accountable for those guys, I get to stay being accountable for them, and be here for them. I think that’s the coolest part, is the relationships that we’re going to be able to build.”
Ingold continued to focus on the work ahead, even after the extension. Asked if he was going to celebrate the new deal, he replied, “We’ll see. Wifey has work tomorrow morning, 5:30 a.m. she’s getting up, she’s working hard and we’ve got some dogs to take care of, and we’ve got a long weekend. I need to get healthy, and recover, and all that stuff. Maybe after we win some playoff games and play well and win some games, then maybe we can celebrate after that.”
The Dolphins kick off the 2023 regular season on Sunday, September 10, with a visit to the Los Angeles Chargers.