The Los Angeles Chargers opted to release edge rusher Melvin Ingram earlier during the offseason.
Ingram, a pass rush specialist, endured a tough 2020 campaign, failing to record a single sack. He had his season cut short by a knee injury (his second of the year) sustained vs the New York Jets in Week-11. It was the first time in five years that Ingram had failed to post at least five sacks in a football year.
It's unfair to be too harsh: if a player is injured, it's hard for them to rack up big numbers on the stats board, and Ingram has more than proven his worth in the NFL over the years.
In nine seasons as a pro, Ingram has made 113 appearances. He has amassed 360 tackles, 49 sacks, 70 TFLs, 14 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, three interceptions, and 108 QB hits. Ingram was also selected to the Pro Bowl for three years in succession from 2017-2019. His free agency stock is down only in the wake of the aforementioned double knee injury; he remains a top player, in my opinion at least.
A hardened veteran at 31-years-of-age, the Southern Carolina University product can feel confident that teams will be interested in acquiring his services... that is just as soon as they've tested the waters for a younger, less expensive model at the 2021 NFL Draft at least.
But which team is Melvin Ingram likely to represent in 2021?
Take a looks at the...
Top 3 landing spots for DE Melvin Ingram
PFF ranked the Detroit Lions pass rush unit 20th in the NFL in 2020, and that unit has since lost veteran Everson Griffen whose 3.5 sacks earned him an 80.1 pass-rush grade from PFF during his short stint in Detroit.
If signed, a fit Melvin Ingram would be an instant upgrade to the Lions' depth chart at DE, and would also offer extra coverage at linebacker due to his versatility and ability to play both roles.
New York Jets
The New York Jets have been busy during the free agency window and have already added several new talents to the roster, with RB Tevin Coleman, WR Corey Davis and DE Carl Lawson among those to have signed on to play under new head coach Robert Saleh next season.
Saleh, famed for his outstanding stint as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, likes his defenses to keep the pressure on opposing QBs. An effective pass rush unit is the best way to achieve this, but the Jets roster needs work in this position. The incoming Carl Lawson is likely to be an effective new weapon at left bookend. I expect the former Bengal to be an upgrade on Tarrell Basham, who departed for Dallas. But despite having several players operating in the position, the right side of the Jets defensive line could be further upgraded.
Vinny Curry is probably the best RDE in the Jets squad but the veteran struggled to make an impact last year as his productivity declined. For my money, Melvin Ingram -- assuming he is back fit and firing -- walks into the Jets defense as a starter and is an option worthy of consideration, at the very least.
Kansas City Chiefs
After releasing Alex Okafor (free agent) and Tanoh Kpassagnon (Saints), the Kansas City Chiefs need some reinforcements along the defensive edge. Finding another option to rotate behind Frank Clark would be a big boost to the defensive line in time for the new season.
Melvin Ingram has played in the AFC West vs. the Chiefs for his entire career, so would be very familiar with the competition in the division and clued in on the Chiefs' schemes and plays having come up against them on so many occasions over the years.
The Chiefs did meet with Melvin Ingram last month. Proceedings were concluded without a deal, but that's not to say there won't be one moving forward -- it'll just depend on who the Chiefs take off the board at the 2021 NFL Draft and whether or not Andy Reed wakes up on May 1 still in need of an edge rusher.
Did i miss a team? Which of the 32 NFL franchise teams do you think could benefit most by signing Melvin Ingram? Sound off in the comments section below: