As we enter into Real Offseason Hours, NFL teams will begin to move forward with the rosters they have. As voluntary mini-camps and summer workouts get underway, most teams have the rosters they’ll be going into camp with; assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their group to form and tweak their schematic goals and modifying their playbooks to get the most of their guys for this upcoming season.
But there are a handful of veterans who remain unsigned from the most recent free agency period who can still contribute, not just to overall rosters, but potentially to starting lineups.
One of those players is pass rusher Melvin Ingram.
Ingram, a former first-round pick from the 2012 NFL Draft, is most likely going to be playing for a new team for the first time in his career. After nine seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers organization, Ingram will be taking his talents elsewhere, and there is reason to believe he still has plenty left in the tank.
Though he didn’t record a sack in 2020 for the first time in his career, Ingram was coming off five straight years of great production (43 sacks in that time), which included three Pro Bowl seasons from 2017-2019. A knee injury in 2020 forced him out of action after just seven games, so it’s fair to expect that even if it wasn’t a Pro Bowl-caliber yea,r Ingram would have finished with more than zero sacks.
The 6-foot-2, 247-pound Ingram will be 32 years old this upcoming season. His age and injury from last season likely mean he won’t be signing for big bucks whenever a deal does come his way. But for around $8-10 million, Ingram can bring value to a pass rush rotation.
Here are a few teams where Ingram could be a good fit for the right price.
Kansas City Chiefs
When the free agency period opened, Ingram took a visit to Kansas City. He obviously left without a deal, but it wasn’t clear whether that was because the Chiefs were no longer interested or Ingram’s price was just too high at the time. Since then, the Chiefs have drafted Joshua Kaindoh from FSU. They also re-signed Taco Charlton. However, Ingram would be a better option than both, especially for a team in a winning window.
Ingram to the Chiefs makes sense as a veteran pass rusher who can contribute right away, but the money has to match.
More recently, Ingram had a visit with the Dolphins. After moving on from Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson, the Dolphins have already addressed their pass rush in the form of first-round pick Jaelan Phillips. Phillips has high potential, even as a rookie, so the Dolphins likely won’t be a team desperate to break the bank for Ingram. But, as a stand-up pass rusher with good size, Ingram would fit well in Brian Flores’ multiple front defense. Ingram will also likely want to go to a contending team, and though the Dolphins don’t have the playoff pedigree of the Chiefs, they’re certainly on the up and up.
Los Angeles Rams
If the two sides can make the money work—which, as have recently seen, is always in the realm of possibility—then this would make sense from a lot of angles. Ingram plays the stand-up pass rush position the Rams could certainly utilize. His experience as a veteran would be welcomed in that defense, and the Rams are one of just a few teams in the NFC that could actually compete for the conference championship and potential Super Bowl run. Ingram on the same puss rush unit as Aaron Donald would have a lot of speed and a lot of fun to watch.
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