The Chargers have joined the list of teams who opted to avoid procrastinating with their franchise-tagged player this summer. Melvin Ingram and the Bolts came to an agreement on a four-year deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
It’s a $66MM contract for Ingram, per Schefter (on Twitter). He adds that $42MM of Ingram’s deal is guaranteed. The Chargers announced the agreement.
The 28-year-old Ingram played five seasons in San Diego, 2016 on a fifth-year option, before being franchise-tagged earlier this year. The Chargers join the Cardinals and Giants as teams that avoided any midsummer tag edge defender drama with and will proceed with an Ingram/Joey Bosa tandem long-term. Ingram registered eight sacks last season and now has 18.5 over the past two years. He’s forced eight fumbles since the 2015 season, establishing himself as one of the game’s best edge players.
Ingram had not signed his tender and did not show for the Bolts’ OTA sessions, but he will be at minicamp and report as one of the wealthiest defenders in football. In terms of total value, Ingram’s deal places him just behind Olivier Vernon‘s Giants pact worth $85MM among 4-3 defensive ends. On a per-year basis, Ingram’s $16.5MM figure also slots him second behind Vernon at his new position. Ingram’s deal matches Chandler Jones‘ AAV figure, only Jones signed a five-year Cardinals contract. Among edge rushers, only Von Miller, Vernon and Justin Houston presently make more than Ingram.
The Bolts are converting from the 3-4 look they’ve used throughout Ingram’s tenure to a 4-3 base set. The position change clearly did not alter the franchise’s view of Ingram, who now comes in behind only Philip Rivers on the team’s salary hierarchy. Los Angeles entered Sunday with just over $12MM in cap space.
Ingram’s next Pro Bowl will be his first, but the former first-round pick has shined despite an injury-limited start to his career. The former South Carolina defender missed 19 games combined between the 2013 and ’14 seasons, with a torn ACL and hip malady sidelining him during that time, but rebounded to play in 16 during each of the past two years. Pro Football Focus slotted Ingram as its No. 6 edge defender last season. The site rated Bosa as its No. 5 edge player, illustrating what kind of duo the Bolts now have locked up through the 2020 season.
This marks a far less volatile process compared to the franchise’s dealings with its previous franchise player. The Bolts tagged Vincent Jackson in 2011 after he skipped most of the 2010 season due to a contract stalemate. Jackson never signed a long-term Bolts pact, relocating to Tampa Bay in 2012.
This agreement leaves Le’Veon Bell, Trumaine Johnson and Kirk Cousins as unsigned players among the 2017 franchise-tagged contingent. Bell is the only one remaining to have not signed his tender. Ingram joins Pierre-Paul, Jones and Kawann Short as tagged performers who have signed extensions. So, 2017’s July 15 drama will not match that of the past two years.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.