The San Diego Chargers are going to have a tough decision to make. After the Chargers hire their next head coach, one of the team’s first decisions is going to be whether or not to sign Melvin Ingram.
The decision to re-sign Ingram is going to be the biggest story of the Chargers offseason (Well, roster wise. That whole stadium thing is going to be important too). Ingram is coming off two impressive seasons and is expecting a long-term, big money contract.
This kind of contract isn’t something the Chargers should be willing to sign Ingram too. Since 2012, Ingram supporters have pointed towards potential. He is now 27. The developmental stage is over. All the money Ingram is going to want will cripple the Chargers in terms of cap and won’t allow them to fix other holes on the roster.
Those who want to see Ingram back next year will point to the potential that he and Joey Bosa have. The duo had a tremendous 2016 and with the success of other team’s in the AFC have had with multiple pass rushers (Denver’s DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller and Kansas City’s Justin Houston and Tamba Hali), the Chargers could do well to follow suit.
The other side of the table will point to Ingram’s knack for disappearing for stretches during a game and lack of elite numbers. Ingram has had only one double-digit sack season in his career. Even though Ingram clearly has the talent of the elite edge rushers in the NFL, he has yet to put together a truly elite season.
In his contract year, Ingram performed well. He was able to rack up 60 tackles, 8 sacks, and a career-high four forced fumbles. After a slow start, Ingram improved drastically once Joey Bosa was able to see the field.
One of the main reasons to keep Ingram would be creating a special pairing between him and Bosa. The two transformed the front seven towards the end of the year and played well together. Keeping Ingram could be the answer to the Chargers pass rushing woes.
Although the potential for a special pairing is there, it may not be the best thing for this Chargers team as a whole.
Even though he had a strong season, there still is some doubt that he deserves a big money contract. There still is a good chance that the Chargers don’t find him worth the price tag. With a young player like Bosa making such a huge impact, the Chargers may look to spend money at other positions.
Looking at other pass rushers contracts, Ingram is probably going to ask for $10 million or more per year. Do the math, if Ingram wants a five-year deal San Diego will have to chalk up about $50 million. That’s a huge commitment for a team that has a ton of other holes on the roster.
Compare Ingram’s career to that of Oakland’s Bruce Irvin. Irvin was a rookie in 2012 like Ingram and has 5 more sacks in his career. He signed a 4-year $37 million contract this past offseason with Oakland.
Now, Ingram is probably a better player than Irvin so you would expect him to get more money. However, is it a good idea for the Bolts to invest $50 million in a player that has similar production to Irvin? I think not.
There is also this narrative that Ingram misses a ton of plays. Whether it be a missed tackle or missing the quarterback on a sack, Ingram doesn’t come through.
The only major issue with moving on with Ingram is replacing him. Currently, the only other viable options are Kyle Emanuel and Jerry Attaochu. Emanuel for one isn’t a great pass rusher and is more effective when he comes in as a sub. Attaochu barely saw the field this season and one can only guess if he will be on the roster come next season.
So, if the team were to move on from Ingram his replacement may be found through the draft or a cheaper option in free agency. Either way, it is a risk that is worth taking because Ingram shouldn’t be paid that much money.
What do you think? Should the Chargers bring Ingram back?