Who should sign Melvin Ingram?
By: Reese Nasser
Nine-year veteran Melvin Ingram has had a successful NFL career but is still out to prove that he has more to give. He is still unsigned and is looking for a team. An injury-plagued season saw Ingram appear in just seven games for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs could be the perfect home for Ingram, specifically due to the gaps that they have on their defense.
Third-year edge rusher Tim Ward currently had the starting spot on the left side of the defensive line. He has appeared in just one game in his career: the final regular season game of the 2020 season for the Chiefs. In that game he recorded five tackles and one sack.
The other side of the line will be held down by longtime edge rusher Frank Clark. Outside of Clark, there is a clear lack of depth. The next man up will be Taco Charlton who played in seven games for the Chiefs last season but had zero starts. He recorded just four tackles but also added two sacks.
Ingram could potentially thrive in Kansas City. They need another player that can get to the quarterback, which Ingram has proven he can do. He has 49 career sacks and could tack on even more in this scenario.
The risk of signing Ingram could greatly benefit both teams. The Chiefs need help on the defensive side of the ball and Ingram is looking to show that he can still be a high level player.
The Miami Dolphins have slowly built their defense with a combination of both younger and older players. In recent drafts, they have chosen to address the defensive line.
2019 first round pick Christian Wilkins has played well in his two seasons with the team. He has racked up over 100 tackles and missed just two games. The rising edge defender has solidified his role as a starter on this defense but other positions are still up in the open.
Ingram could find himself at multiple spots along this defense. The other defensive end spot is currently occupied by Zach Sieler. Sieler appeared in all 16 games last season and tallied 48 tackles and added 3.5 sacks.
Ingram, being in this defensive rotation, could help all players involved. Ingram has experience not only at defensive end but also at outside linebacker. Rookie linebacker Jaelen Phillips spent a majority of his time in college as an edge rusher. The Dolphins have stated that they would like for him to play linebacker. Ingram, who has played both sports, could not only help Phillips learn both positions at an NFL level, but could also play at whatever spot they choose to not play Phillips.
This Baltimore Ravens defense will be relying heavily on veteran players. Many of the starters have at least four years of experience. With this veterean presence, the addition of Ingram could help this defense.
As time progresses, some players may want to take a step back and have a solid rotation. Edge rusher Derek Wolfe will be entering year 10 just, like Ingram. Linebacker Pernell McPhee will be going into year 11. Ingram has spent time at both their positions and would be a solid rotation, either playing behind or in front of either of these players. None of these three were able to play a full 16 games last season and the addition of Ingram could help keep fresh legs on all three players.
Los Angeles Chargers
A homecoming could be in Ingram’s future. Ingram has spent his entire career with the Chargers and is one the better edge players in the teams history.
Los Angeles has not necessarily made any effort to replace Ingram either. The current options at edge are somewhat mediocre and the verdict is still not yet out on how they will perform for the Chargers. Ingram knows the defensive system and would be able to hold down the edge, opposite Joey Bosa.
Ingrams lack of production, even while playing with Bosa, can’t be ignored. The lack of production may be due to neither player appearing in all 16 games. It can be difficult to build a rhythm along the defensive front when the players aren’t on the field together.
Even with a lackluster 2020 season for Ingram in Los Angeles, a return would just make sense. Ingram would be thrown back into a defense that he has helped create, except this time he will be healthy again. Injuries derailed last season but Ingram will be all systems go come kickoff for 2021. The deal could also be cheap. The Chargers signing him to a one-year deal could allow for Ingram to show that he can still perform. If the signing pays off, the Chargers are able to bring a high-caliber player back to their defense.