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ESPN predicts Melvin Ingram to return to L.A. on a cheap deal

Yay or nay?

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

We’re over two months past the start of the new league year and former Chargers edge rusher Melvin Ingram has yet to land with a new team. After paying him a fully-guaranteed $14 million dollars in 2020, the Bolts decided to let the veteran walk knowing full well he was going to expect a pretty penny to return to the team.

Now, with the Dolphins being the only team to have reportedly met with Ingram thus far, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell believes the long-time Bolt will actually return to his former team on a much cheaper, one-year, $5.5 million deal sometime this offseason.

“Despite his success over the past several years, Ingram had zero sacks in seven games with the Chargers in 2020. The 2012 first-rounder struggled with a knee injury, which has undoubtedly limited his market. Given the need for edge-rushing talent around the NFL, though, it’s hard to imagine Ingram not finding an opportunity at some point this offseason.

One of the teams most in need of help on the edge is the Chargers, who haven’t really replaced Ingram this offseason. Los Angeles has one spot locked down with pass-rusher Joey Bosa, but if he were to get injured, coach Brandon Staley would be left with the likes of Kyler Fackrell and Uchenna Nwosu as his primary options on the edge. Bringing back Ingram would suit both parties.

When it comes to Ingram’s lack of production, and depending on whose opinion you ask, they’ll either tell you that it was a sure sign that he’s washed or they’ll remind you that he still affected the game other ways that didn’t end in him taking the quarterback down.

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Ingram does in fact affect opposing defenses in more than one way, but you can’t simply brush off the fact he laid a goose egg in both the sack and tackle-for-loss categories. Yes, he only played in seven games due to injuries, but nothing? Zero? That’s a tough pill to swallow. Even bottom-shelf players luck their way into an occasional sack.

At the end of the day there really was no excuse for the lack of production. Joey Bosa was still on the other side of the line and he had several ideal matchups against the Bengals (bad tackles) and the Jets (rookie left tackle).

Even after all of that, I’d still welcome Ingram back to this defense on the deal proposed by Barnwell. I think the new defense will actually suit his skillset much better as an edge in a 3-4 as opposed to playing the role of a hybrid base end in a 4-3 front. I think the pressure was on him to set the edge by himself in the run game far too often while sitting at 245 pounds and with an extra defender lined up on the tackle inside of him, that responsibility should be a bit less daunting.

What do you all think? Would you welcome Ingram back or would you prefer the team continue to move on from some of these veteran players? Let me know in the comments below.