Melvin Ingram to the Pittsburgh Steelers Would be a Perfect Fit

Melvin Ingram Steelers
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The Pittsburgh Steelers are one step closer to finding some much-needed help at the outside linebacker position. According to Ian Rapoport, the team is hosting Melvin Ingram today for a visit prior to the start of training camp later this week. This move would make a lot of sense for the Steelers, and they should look to get Melvin Ingram signed by any means necessary.

Pittsburgh Steelers Should Aggressively Pursue Melvin Ingram

Lacking Depth at the Position

Melvin Ingram to the Steelers makes a lot of sense because the Steelers have no depth at the outside linebacker position. This off-season, they lost standout pass rusher Bud Dupree to the Tennessee Titans. His replacement will be Alex Highsmith, a second year player who showed signs of excellence in his rookie season. Highsmith was a great depth piece at outside linebacker last year, but there wasn’t much behind him. Now, Highsmith leaves behind a huge void at the number three outside linebacker position.

It wasn’t long ago that Ingram was a premier pass rusher in the league. His age is catching up to him, though, along with a knee injury that caused him to miss nine games in 2021. While this is a concern for any potential suitors, the injury and age also drive Ingram’s price down from what would have otherwise been a nice chunk of change. Because he is getting older and hasn’t been healthy, he won’t be asked to be a full-time starter, at least not in Pittsburgh. He can be a phenomenal depth piece who’s asked to play roughly 40% of defensive snaps and get after opposing quarterbacks in passing situations.

Bucking the Trend

One thing working against the Melvin Ingram to the Steelers hopes is the team’s history under Kevin Colbert. They have not typically been a team who’s happy to sign an outside free agent in their 30s, at least not on the defensive side of the ball. However, the Steelers have had a very good or elite defense for much of Kevin Colbert’s tenure. They haven’t needed to sign older free agents with injury concerns.

This year is different though, or at least it should be. Colbert should recognize that the team’s Super Bowl window is closing fast (if it hasn’t already). All signs point to 2021 being Ben Roethlisberger’s last season in Pittsburgh. With their offensive line question marks, the Steelers won’t have a prolific offense this year. If they want to have postseason success, it will need to come on the back of their defense. And in today’s NFL, that starts with being able to pressure quarterbacks. Melvin Ingram has made a career out of doing just that.

The Cap Space is There

Coming into the off-season, the Steelers were loaded with salary cap concerns. Retirements, key departures, and surprise releases have carved out much more cap space than could have been anticipated. The recent release of David DeCastro (and subsequent signing of Trei Turner to replace him) provided the Steelers a similar-caliber guard and an extra $5 million in cap space. They currently have about $13 million in cap space, more than enough to sign Ingram and even another depth piece or two. Especially with Ingram’s aforementioned injury concerns and age, his asking price should be lower than one would expect for a player of his caliber. If they want him, the Steelers should do whatever they can to sign Melvin Ingram. And based on the current makeup of their roster, there’s no reason they shouldn’t want him.

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