The Los Angeles Chargers fifth-year outside linebacker Melvin Ingram is about to get PAID.
From who? I don’t know. It’s too early to tell. However, SOMEONE will definitely be writing Ingram a huge check this off-season.
Should it be the Chargers? That would be nice. A defensive front of Ingram, Joey Bosa, Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget could potentially be one of the best if the team decides to go that route.
Could it be someone other than the Chargers? Of course. A team in desperate need of a pass-rusher could definitely break the bank for Ingram. Would that be a wise decision? There’s plenty of people on here that will tell you it’s not. But as Charger fans know all too well, players get questionable deals all the time.
When you look at this Chargers’ roster, particularly at the outside linebacker position, Ingram is really the only one worth mentioning. Behind him are Jerry Attaochu, Kyle Emanuel, Tourek Williams and Chris Landrum. Attaochu didn’t see the field much in 2016 partially due to injuries, partially to ineffectiveness. Kyle Emanuel just isn’t really a good pass-rusher and Tourek Williams isn’t far behind. Chris Landrum is honestly an unknown at this point. I didn’t even know who he was until I saw him in the Carolina game.
So with the outside linebacker situation being what it is, most would say re-signing Ingram is a must, right? Well, it should be, but it’s not.
Why? Ingram’s inconsistency is a huge part in why him being re-signed or let go is a real question. Whether it be the wild-tackling, his tendency to disappear from games, the “he almost got there” plays or the missed sacks, Ingram hasn’t been consistent enough to make his contract situation a no-brainer for the Chargers.
Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Here you see Ingram at Denver in Week 8. He has nice balance coming off the edge, goes in under control, gets the sack on Siemian and forces a fumble. These are the kind of plays the Chargers need up front considering how every other team in the division has a guy (Mack, Houston, Miller) that does it consistently.
Here’s Ingram vs Oakland in Week 15. He does a nice job of not letting the tackle get his hands on him, gets inside and gets to Carr for the sack:
Now we’ll look at a couple of plays from Ingram that have become really frustrating to Chargers fans.
Here he is vs Tampa Bay. This isn’t exactly a bad play, but for someone who is likely to demand tons of money this summer, it’s one that has to be made. He plays it the right way by staying home and not falling for the fake. He was able to get pressure on Winston, but can’t bring him down. This goes into the category of the “almost” plays I referred to earlier:
This one comes against Miami. He beat the tackle inside with a nice spin move, but then wildly launches himself at Tannehill. This would allow Tannehill to escape the pocket on 3rd and 11 and eventually pick up 18 yards for a first down:
I’m not trying to make out Ingram to be a bad player. That would be ridiculous. He’s a very good player that COULD be great. But, through four NFL seasons has Ingram done anything that makes you say “The Chargers have to get a deal done for this guy no matter what”? I don’t think so.
On the other hand, being the only legitimate player at his position on this team may actually turn out to be something that helps his cause. As I mentioned earlier, depth at this position is a real concern and losing Ingram would put the team in even more of a bind.
However, there’s a possibility that the Chargers aren’t approaching it like that. Maybe they’re thinking they can get his replacement when they pick seventh in the upcoming draft. Considering how deep this incoming class of pass-rushers is, this is a good year for teams like the Chargers to find one.
Nobody truly knows how they’ll deal with Ingram’s contract situation but the team. My point is, we shouldn't be talking about IF the Chargers should bring him back. We should be talking about for how many years and for how much money. But, due to Ingram’s inability to stay consistent, the conversation on if he’ll be a Charger in 2017 is a legitimate one to have.