Where Will the Chargers Melvin Ingram Land in NFL Free Agency?
By: Gladys Louise Tyler
Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Melvin Ingram III is going to be a free agent in 2021. In 2020 he momentarily held out, but when the Chargers paid up for Joey Bosa that ended. So now…what to do…what to do?
Salary and Salary Cap
According to cbssports.com, Ingram has a $16.625 million salary-cap hit in 2020. That is the most on the Chargers’ roster. However, none of his $14 million base salary was guaranteed for 2020.
The Chargers are expected to have $29,103,947 in cap space for 2021. That is with several high-value free agents, including tight end Hunter Henry, cornerback Chris Harris Jr, and Mike Pouncey to name just a few.
2020: 7 games played, 361 defensive snaps, 34.8% defensive snaps, 5 solo tackles, 5 assisted tackles, 0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles, 1 interception
2019-2020 seasons: 0.35% sacks per game; 2.2% tackles per game; 1.6 hurries; 1.55 stops
Football Focus’ 36th best free agent on the market. When on the field PFF.com graded him above a 70. He had 258 total pressures on 236 pass-rushing snaps in 2020.
The 3 Best Landing Spots for Ingram
Ingram is best suited for a team that has an abysmal pass rush or has only one really good pass rusher. His options are many, but here are the three most promising, four actually.
4. Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks would be optimal. When safety Jamaal Adams shares the team leads in quarterback pressure, there is room for improvement. The late addition of Carlos Dunlap helped. Dunlap finished the season with a team high 12.6% pressure rate.
However, the downside is that the Seahawks enter 2021 with only $2,728,229 in cap space. The lowest of any of the contenders.
3. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts did a solid by bringing in DeForest Buckner. Buckner graded out at a 90.2 in the pass rush. That was the best in his career and third behind only Aaron Donald and Chris Jones. But in Indianapolis, Buckner was the only defensive player with 100 or more pass rushing snaps. Here is a spot that is suited for Ingram and slides him into a position he is accustomed. It is worth mentioning that Colts’ Justin Houston is a free agent.
The Colts currently have the fourth-highest salary cap (per spotrac.com) at $64,884,114 to spend.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
The biggest issue here is the Bengals have a lot to fix on their offensive line. But with a salary cap of $42,082,347 and with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and a pick in each round they should be able to solidify both sides of the football.
On the defensive side, they ranked 31st in team pressure rate. The Bengals pressured on 22.8% of their plays. Stand-out Carl Lawson could use some help. He had a 20% pass-rush rate which was one of the highest in the league.
- Jacksonville Jaguars
Not only do the Jaguars have the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, they have the most money to spend in free agency. The Jaguars are predicted to have $73,306,433 in salary cap to spend.
Their 28th ranked pass rush suffered when Josh Allen was limited due to knee injuries.
Pairing Ingram with Josh Allen could turn out to be one of the best pass rushing duos of 2021, that is if both can stay healthy. Allen through four weeks was the top edge rusher with 13 pressures and a 17.8% pass rush rate. But knee injuries limited him to less than 400 defensive snaps for the year.
Wherever Ingram ends up, his injury history will most likely limit him to a one-year deal. All the suggested stops here are utilizing Ingram as the companion piece to an already dominate edge rusher.