Given how valuable pass-rushers are, it’s a surprise such a proven, versatile commodity as longtime Los Angeles Chargers star Melvin Ingram is still on the open market this late in NFL free agency.
Continue reading for the top three landing spots Ingram should try the hardest to go to.
New England Patriots add Melvin Ingram to epic free-agent class
Even after an outrageous spending spree this offseason, Patriots coach Bill Belichick still has almost $15 million in salary cap space to play with. That’d be enough to bring Ingram in for sure.
Ingram is a smart, experienced player who could master the intricacies of Belichick’s defense quicker than most who’ve not been in New England before. He can line up with his hand in the dirt, or as a stand-up linebacker, which makes him all the more attractive as a fit in the Pats’ defense.
You can bet that after years of coming up short with the Chargers, Ingram would be intrigued by the possibility of playing for the NFL’s most consistent winner in Foxborough. Having Ingram pressure the opposing quarterback would also help New England’s efforts to potentially trade star cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
For as strong as New England usually is on defense, its lack of difference-making pass-rushers is noticeable in recent years. No one else in free agency right now could help the Patriots out quite as much as Ingram probably would.
Chargers ties help Melvin Ingram land with Indianapolis Colts
Frank Reich has shown a fondness for reuniting with players. The former Chargers quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator was instrumental in bringing Philip Rivers to Indianapolis for his final season in 2020. Now, Reich’s former Philadelphia Eagles pupil, Carson Wentz, is taking over at quarterback in 2021 in the wake of Rivers’ retirement.
This wouldn’t be much different than those scenarios. Ingram has been a respected veteran during his time with the Bolts, and Reich no doubt would love to have a pass-rusher like Ingram on his defense.
Matt Eberflus is among the best defensive coordinators in football, and he’d have a ball plugging Ingram in. The Colts don’t have many proven edge defenders, either, which almost requires rookie first-round pick Kwity Paye to be an instant star.
Instead of putting undue expectations on Paye and other unproven youngsters, Ingram could step up as an on-field producer, in addition to helping along that group as a valuable mentor.
Melvin Ingram pairs with T.J. Watt for dynamic Pittsburgh Steelers duo
The Baltimore Ravens are an intriguing destination for Ingram, but he could also go to another spot in the AFC North that’d offer similar appeal.
Playing on such a phenomenal front seven led by superstar T.J. Watt, Ingram would be positioned for the type of one-year prove-it deal that gets him another nice pay bump when the salary cap goes up in 2022.
It’s pretty clear that Pittsburgh is all-in for the 2021 campaign, and signing Ingram would reinforce that notion. The team lost Bud Dupree in free agency already, and could use another player on the edge to complement Watt.
Ingram would help demoralize Steelers opponents and draw a lot of favorable one-on-one matchups with Watt, Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt commanding so much attention.