The 2016 season was just a mess for the San Diego Chargers and their fan base.
The constant injuries and inept coaching were just the issues fans had to deal with on the field.
The stadium fiasco is in full form at the present time and the future of the Chargers in the city of San Diego is still very much in doubt.
Despite all the drama, the business aspect of the game rolls on and the Chargers have some pending free agents that they must address very soon. Among them is Melvin Ingram, who seems like a virtual lock to return to the team.
The Chargers are pleased with his production from the past few seasons and he has turned into a vocal leader on the defense as well. Ingram recorded 46 tackles this past year with eight sacks, five pass defends, and five forced fumbles. Most importantly, after a few injury-riddled years to start his career, he started 16 games for the second straight year in 2016. He has proven to be versatile and has played through numerous nagging injuries the past two seasons.
Tom Telesco has to be impressed with his game over the past few seasons, and with that, the Chargers are surely already working out a deal with him and his representatives. It is reported that Ingram is very happy in San Diego and would like to remain with the team.
The Chargers have an opportunity to lock up Ingram long-term and team him with Joey Bosa. That tandem would wreak havoc on the AFC West for years to come and having the duo would allow the franchise to work on other areas of the team in an attempt to make them a well-rounded program. There are plenty of holes on this team.
Take a look at this video of Ingram and what he brings to the field as far as determination and athleticism.
In 2015, the Chargers got a great season from Ingram as he recorded 52 tackles, 10.5 sacks, six pass defends, and three forced fumbles. He is an impressive athlete, as most Chargers fans know that he is capable of doing a standing back flip. For a man of his size to accomplish this feat speaks volumes to his athleticism. He has frequently shown off his gymnastic abilities, but after a knee injury, he has slowed down on performing the flip.
Ingram on the field is a menace. Having him as a bookend to Bosa is vital when it comes to rushing the QB, but he has other skills too. Ingram has shown the ability to drop off in coverage occasionally and also is very active when it comes to defending the run. Wrapping up can be an issue for Ingram from time to time, as he has missed sacks in the past by allowing a QB to slither away after being hit. Still, the pressures that he produces are well worth the occasional gaffe.
Take a look at this video of Ingram as he was Mic’d up in Denver vs the Broncos in October. Whether its hyping the team before the game, or rooting on his team from the sidelines, he is in the game and a vocal leader. Replacing him will not be easy if the Chargers choose not to bring him back.
What would it take for Ingram to return? A recent contract of Ryan Kerrigan might be a great example of his worth. The free agent defensive end received a five-year/$57.5 million dollar extension from the Redskins in 2015. That was two years ago, and Kerrigan has put up similar numbers to Ingram over his career. The Chargers have the room to get a deal done, but they will have to do some restructuring. A franchise tag could be in order too, but that is only if a deal cannot be reached.
In 2016, Melvin Ingram ranked as the leagues #6 edge rusher according to PPF (Pro Football Focus) with a 88.1 rating. That is one year after recording the league’s 18th best ranking in 2015. He is unheralded as a rusher, and a solid presence on the defense for the team. Of all the potential Chargers’ free agents, he should be brought back, with no questions asked. Bring back Melvin and let’s focus on improving the team in other ways. Do the right thing, Telesco.