“We’re interested in a lot of guys at all positions right now,” head coach Matt Eberflus said. “We’re just excited about being able to look at those guys and potentially add as we go through camp and getting closer to the season.”
The Bears finished last season with a league-low 20 sacks, and the team’s only notable addition on the edge was DeMarcus Walker, who had a career-high seven sacks for the Titans last season. The team also returns some depth at the position; Trevis Gipson has compiled 10 sacks over the past two seasons, and Dominique Robinson showed some promise during his rookie campaign.
“I’m focused on the guys we have here,” said defensive line coach Travis Smith. “That’s not my job to go look outside. That’s for Mr. Poles and [Eberflus] to decide. If they come ask me a question, I’ll offer my opinion on it. But the guys that we have, the 15 guys in the room that we have, coaching every day to get better.”
As Finley notes, the Bears have plenty of connections to the remaining crop of free agent edge rushers. Justin Houston played for Eberflus when the two were in Indianapolis, while Yannick Ngakoue played under Smith when they were in Las Vegas. Bears GM RyanPoles also has connections to Melvin Ingram and Frank Clark from his Kansas City days.
The Bears are willing to give at least one of the current free agent edge rushers a one-year deal, per Finley. The team will probably wait out the market as they look at add to the position on their financial terms.
Even as Jadeveon Clowney moved out of the picture, the Browns look to still be deeper on the edge than they were during the Clowney-Myles Garrett years. They have added two intriguing complementary rushers this offseason.
The Browns initially prioritized Smith, with Cabot noting Andrew Berry and ex-Browns staffer Kwesi Adofo-Mensah discussed the disgruntled pass rusher in March and April. With no deal materializing by the draft, the Browns checked in on Ingram, an 11-year veteran who played out his one-year Dolphins contract last season.
Ingram, 34, broke through for his most sacks since 2020 last season, notching six in Miami. Only Jaelan Phillips (seven) tallied more for the team. The former Bolts first-round pick has also scored two defensive touchdowns over the past two seasons, doing so in consecutive regular-season games — Week 18 in 2021 and Week 1 of last season. Ingram, who played for the Steelers and Chiefs in between time with the Bolts and Dolphins, has 57 career sacks.
Smith has 54.5 despite working as more of a rotational rusher in Baltimore. He rebounded from a lost 2021 season in ’22, recovering from his back surgery to play 16 Vikings games. The eight-year veteran finished with 10 sacks during his Minnesota one-off. Clowney totaled nine during his debut with Garrett, though the former No. 1 overall pick — amid a turbulent season — regressed in 2022, registering only two in his second Cleveland slate. The Browns will expect more from Smith, who has two years remaining on his reworked contract.
This year’s deadline, however, has not led to a thaw in the edge defender market, which is free agency’s deepest at this point. A number of accomplished veterans — some still in or close to their prime — remain unsigned. Teams often use OTAs, minicamp and training camp to determine where roster flaws are, leading to summer veteran additions. As of last week, no such moves affect teams’ 2024 compensatory picks. Some clubs will also pick up some cap space after June 1, when they will see the money saved from previous cut designations emerge.
A few longtime starters figure to receive another chance before teams configure their final depth charts. Ahead of OTAs, here are the top options available:
The Chiefs cut Clark in March, separating from their most prominent edge player of the Patrick Mahomes era. While Clark did not live up to the five-year, $104MM pact he signed upon being acquired from the Seahawks in 2019 and ultimately took a pay cut to return in 2022, he did continue producing in the playoffs. Clark’s 2.5 sacks during this past postseason give him 13.5 for his career. In the official sack era (1982-present), that total ranks third. Of course, the ex-Seattle second-rounder was arrested twice in 2021 and never eclipsed eight sacks during a Chiefs regular season. He remains a starter-caliber player.
Perennially unable to secure a long-term deal, the former No. 1 overall pick will likely end his NFL career without landing one. Injury trouble has plagued Clowney, who missed eight games during his two-year Browns tenure. Since the Texans traded Clowney to the Seahawks in August 2019, he has taken his time before reaching a free agency accord. Clowney signed with the Titans in September 2020, inked his first Browns deal in April 2021 and re-signed in May of last year. Clashes with Cleveland’s coaching staff will lead him elsewhere. Clowney only totaled two sacks and 12 QB pressures last season, though he collected nine sacks opposite Myles Garrett in 2021.
With the Rams moving on from their four-year, $64MM agreement in March, two teams have now cut Floyd in his career. The Bears picked up his fifth-year option but, back when teams were allowed to do this, ditched it free of charge a year later back in 2020. Floyd has both displayed durability and production since that Chicago separation, showing a new gear in Los Angeles. Teaming with Aaron Donald and Von Miller certainly boosted Floyd’s chances of drawing a favorable matchup, but he kept going after Donald’s shutdown last season. Four of Floyd’s 9.5 sacks came during the six games Donald missed. Floyd’s 31 QB pressures ranked 17th last season.
Coming off the worst season in this contingent, Golden is two years removed from an 11-sack campaign. The former second-round pick agreed to a one-year extension that covered the 2023 season, but the Cardinals’ new regime ditched that contract in March. Golden has three double-digit sack seasons on his resume, though they have come in nonconsecutive years. An early-career ACL tear threw the Mizzou alum off track, but Golden has missed just one game over the past four seasons.
The second-ranked edge defender in PFR’s free agent rankings back in March (behind only Marcus Davenport), Ngakoue has consistently produced sack numbers while generating a reputation as a hired gun and run-game liability. He did not come close to reaching the May compensatory deadline in the past, however, being franchise-tagged in 2020 and signed to a two-year, $26MM Raiders deal in March 2021. The Colts took on that contract last year, via a straight-up trade for Ya-Sin, and Ngakoue reeled off a 9.5-sack season. The former Jaguars third-round pick is the only player to post at least eight sacks in each of the past seven seasons.
One of the bright spots of the Jaguars’ Urban Meyer year, Smoot finished the 2021 season with 30 pressures. The former third-round pick accumulated 22.5 sacks from 2019-22, finishing that stretch on a two-year deal worth $10MM. He likely would have a third contract in place — either from the Jaguars or another team earlier in free agency — had a December ACL tear not occurred. The Jags did not re-sign Arden Key or use a first- or second-day pick on an edge rusher. While that potentially keeps the door open to Smoot returning when cleared (or on the homestretch toward clearance), he remains an intriguing complementary option for teams.
Although Van Noy has operated as a hybrid of sorts, his sack consistency qualifies him for such a list. Van Noy’s one-year Chargers deal ended up requiring considerable edge work, with Joey Bosa lost for much of the season. As he had done for years in New England, Van Noy made an impact in a pass-rushing capacity. He finished with five sacks, marking the fifth time in the past six seasons he has reached that number. Van Noy’s age and versatility make him one of the better options left. After signing with the Chargers in May of last year, Van Noy expressed interest in staying on another accord.
The Chiefs waited until July to add Dunlap last year, bringing in the longtime Bengals sack artist — on a one-year, $3MM pact — to replace Melvin Ingram as a Clark complement. Kansas City has since added younger UFA Charles Omenihu and used first-round picks on edges (George Karlaftis, Felix Anudike-Uzomah) in each of the past two years. The Bengals’ all-time sack leader, Dunlap finished with four last season after amassing 8.5 with the Seahawks in 2021. The Chiefs used the 13-year veteran on 39 defensive plays in Super Bowl LVII.
The Ravens re-signed Houston to a one-year, $3.5MM deal last July. The former Chiefs first-rounder ended up being by far the most productive edge player in Baltimore, tallying 9.5 sacks and 17 QB hits despite starting just one game. The rotational rusher, who has totaled at least eight sacks in five of the past six seasons, should be able to garner another opportunity after his 2022 display. Houston said in January he wanted to stay in Baltimore.
Like Houston, Ingram is accustomed to being without a team late into the offseason. The Steelers signed the former first-rounder in July 2021, and the Dolphins brought him in last May. The Dolphins signed the ex-Chargers Pro Bowler after the Chiefs gave him a UFA tender. The Ravens had done the same with Houston, but Kansas City opted to let Ingram walk. The 11-year veteran totaled six sacks and a forced fumble, adding a return touchdown.
JPP joined the Ravens in-season, bypassing the practice squad-to-active roster route many veterans have taken over the past few years. Signed directly to Baltimore’s 53-man roster, Pierre-Paul started over Houston but posted just three sacks in 14 games. He still parlayed a September signing — on an incentive-laden deal worth $1.35MM — into 526 defensive snaps. The resilient two-time Super Bowl champion is obviously approaching the end of the line but resides as a potential rotational option for teams.
The oft-traded veteran’s production nosedived last season. After setting a Bears single-season record with 18.5 sacks in 2021, Quinn recorded just one last season. The Eagles sent a fourth-round pick to the Bears for Quinn, with Chicago eating most of his salary to increase the compensation. Philadelphia also reached an agreement with Quinn to remove the final two seasons from his five-year, $70MM deal. Given his 2022 showing in Chicago and Philly, Quinn’s days of commanding notable contracts may be over.
Here are some of the details on deals recently agreed to around the NFL:
Jarvis Landry, WR (Saints): One-year, $3MM. The contract, according to ESPN’s Field Yates, is completely guaranteed with a $1.88MM signing bonus and a base salary of $1.12MM. The deal will have a maximum value of $6MM due to some lofty incentives. One incentive is based on his receptions total, paying out $250,000 if he reaches 55 catches, $500,000 if he reaches 65, and $1MM if he reaches 75 receptions. The receptions bonus does not compound. If he reaches 75 receptions, he will only receive a $1MM bonus, not $1.75MM. Other incentives include $500,000 if he catches five touchdowns, $500,000 if he plays 48.5% of the team’s offensive snaps, $500,000 if he records 60 catches and the team makes the playoffs, and $500,000 if he reaches 607 receiving yards and the team makes the playoffs.
Melvin Ingram, OLB (Dolphins): One-year, $4MM. The deal, also reported by Yates, has a guaranteed amount of $3.32MM composed of a $1.65MM signing bonus and a base salary of $1.67MM. The remaining $680,000 is the potential season-total for Ingram’s per game active bonus of $40,000. Ingram can earn up to $750,000 of additional incentives based on playtime, sack total, and team defense. A Pro Bowl bonus of $250,000 pushes the maximum potential value of the contract to $5MM.
James Bradberry, CB (Eagles): One-year, $7.25MM. Bradberry’s deal, once again reported by Yates, is fully guaranteed with a signing bonus of $6.22MM and a base salary of $1.04MM. Bradberry can earn an additional $2.5MM due to incentives, giving his deal a maximum potential value of $9.75MM. The Eagles continue to divvy up the cap hit with voidable years, spreading Bradberry’s cap number through the 2026 season. The result sees his $7.25MM contract only do $2.28MM-worth of damage to the 2022 salary cap.
Another veteran pass rusher has found a new home. Melvin Ingramis signing with the Dolphins, reports Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network (Twitter link).
The recently-turned 33-year-old spent nine years with the Chargers. Beginning in 2014, he emerged as a disruptive presence against both the pass and the run, eclipsing the 10-sack mark in 2015 and 2017. The latter campaign saw him earn the first of three consecutive Pro Bowl nods.
Ingram ended his tenure with the team this offseason, signing with the Steelers to bookend All-Pro T.J. Watt. The move was met with optimism from both an individual and team perspective, but things didn’t go according to plan at any point during the season. Playing a smaller role than he did at any point as a starter with the Chargers, Ingram totalled just 10 tackles and one sack as a Steeler.
In November, Pittsburgh honored his trade request, sending him to Kansas City. He matched his sack total from his brief Steelers tenure, but his arrival coincided with the Chiefs’ general defensive turnaround, and he added a pair of sacks in three postseason games. As a result, the team expressed an interest in re-signing the South Carolina alum.
That possibility seemed to grow in likelihood when the Chiefs placed the rarely-used UFA tender on Ingram. Doing so would have given them exclusive negotiating rights after July 22nd, while guaranteeing Ingram a Chiefs contract of at least $4.4MM. As a result of this deal with the Dolphins, Kansas City will be in line for a compensatory pick next year.
While it may come as a slight surprise Ingram is on the move once again, the fact that his destination is Miami shouldn’t be one. The Dolphins hosted him just over one month ago, signalling their interest. He will join a Dolphins edge group which already featured the re-signed Emmanuel Ogbahand 2021 first-rounder Jaelan Phillips. Ingram should be able to play at least a rotational role on what figures to be a strong Miami defense.
Both the Ravens and Chiefs made use of a rarely used tender today. Per ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), free agent linebackers Justin Houston and Melvin Ingram were hit with UFA tenders by Baltimore and Kansas City, respectively.
This makes July 22 (or the first day of training camp, whichever is later) a relatively important date for the two veterans. If they sign with a new team before that date, then they’ll count toward the compensatory pick formula (benefiting their 2021 team). If they remain unsigned, then their 2021 squad will have exclusive negotiating rights, meaning the player will either return to the organization or sit unsigned.
Houston’s offer from Baltimore is worth 110% of his 2021 salary, which was $2.075MM. The veteran inked a one-year deal with the Ravens last offseason, and he ended up collecting 34 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 15 starts for his new team. Houston spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Chiefs, including a 2014 campaign where he compiled 22 sacks.
Per Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com, the Chiefs effectively offered Ingram a one-year deal worth $4.4MM. The linebacker was traded to Kansas City last November, and he saw time in nine games (six starts) down the stretch, collecting 15 tackles and one sack. The 33-year-old added another two sacks in three playoff games. The former first-round pick spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Chargers, collecting 49 sacks and three Pro Bowl appearances.
Melvin Ingramfound himself in a new NFL home for the first time last season. That may be the case again in 2022, as the free agent is visiting the Dolphins (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport).
The soon-to-be 33-year-old signed with the Steelers last year, ending a nine-year stint with the Chargers. He only started one of six games in Pittsburgh, however, registering a single sack. That led to a trade request, which the team honored. He was acquired by the Chiefs in November; in Kansas City, he saw similar playing time and put up comparable numbers.
Given the South Carolina alum’s play, and the team’s defensive turnaround which coincided with his arrival, the Chiefs made it clear they would welcome Ingram back if he wished to stay. “I do think if a guy like Melvin decides he wants to come back and play, I think that we would be at the top of his list” said general manager Brett Veach. Since those comments, though, the team has managed to retain Frank Clark, whom many felt would be a cut candidate.
The Dolphins have made significant additions to their offense this offseason, but they have been able to retain a number of key defensive players as well. Among those is defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, who, along with 2021 first-round pick Jaelan Phillips, will remain central to the team’s pass rush. Signing Ingram would add experienced depth in that department, while helping to fortify an already strong unit on a team with significant 2022 aspirations.
One aspect of the Chiefs’ midseason turnaround was the acquisition of veteran edge rusher Melvin Ingram. After his brief stint in Kansas City, there appears to be mutual interest for him to stay put, according to ESPN’s Adam Teicher.
Ingram ended his nine-year stint with the Chargers when he signed a one-year deal in Pittsburgh last offseason. Things didn’t go according to plan, however, as he managed just one sack and saw his playing time dwindle. Once he became available, the Chiefs were immediately interested in adding him as a boost to their pass rush. The deal was done in November, sending Ingram to his second team in a matter of months.
While Ingram also only recorded one sack with the Chiefs, his arrival coincided with the team’s late-season surge. As Teicher notes, Kansas City started the year 4-4, but won eight of their nine games after acquiring him. A large part of the turnaround was a defensive resurgence in the second half of the campaign; the Chiefs allowed eleven fewer points per game with Ingram than without him.
During the team’s run to a fourth consecutive AFC Championship game, Ingram said “I’ve definitely got a lot of desire” to stay in Kansas City. Meanwhile, general manager Brett Veach is similarly interested in bringing back the 32-year-old.
“His leadership and his approach, I think, elevated everyone else’s game”, he said. “We had a really good string of late-season football and I think he was a huge part of that… I do think if a guy like Melvin decides he wants to come back and play, I think that we would be at the top of his list“.
The Chiefs ranked 29th in the league in sacks last season, so keeping Ingram certainly wouldn’t be the only move needed to be made in upgrading the team’s defense. If he were to sign another short-term deal around the $1MM rate he inked last year, though, he could provide low-cost experience at a premium position.
The Steelers have agreed to trade edge rusher Melvin Ingram to the Chiefs (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). In exchange, Kansas City will send a sixth-round pick to Pittsburgh. The deal is now official, per a press release from the Steelers.
The Chiefs made an offer on Ingram late last week, following a one-sided loss to the Titans. Even with Frank Clark and Chris Jones back on the field, the Chiefs clearly needed to bolster their pass rush. They’ve done just that by acquiring Ingram, a proven vet who was eager for a change of scenery.
So far this year, Ingram has ten tackles, one pass defensed, and one sack across six games. Those numbers don’t exactly jump off of the screen, but he’s been healthy, and that’s good news after his injury-riddled 2020. Ingram’s knee kept him to just seven games with the Bolts last year. Before that, he saw three straight Pro Bowl nods from 2017-2019.
The Chiefs met with Ingram in the early part of the offseason but passed on their opportunity to sign him. In other words, they could have had the 32-year-old on a similar deal without coughing up a draft pick. Still, it’s only a sixth-round choice, so the Chiefs haven’t depleted their stockpile too badly.
Ingram will make his debut on Sunday when the Chiefs host the Packers at Arrowhead Stadium.
Melvin Ingram visited the Chiefs in March, but the defending AFC champions passed. This led Ingram to Pittsburgh. Months later, the veteran edge rusher is back on Kansas City’s radar.
Mentioned as a team monitoring Ingram, the Chiefs have now made an offer for the 10th-year pass rusher, NFL.com’s Aditi Kinkhabwala reports (on Twitter). Ingram wants to be traded, after seeing the Steelers reduce his playing time.
As is generally the case involving trades of notable performers, the Steelers do not want to send Ingram to a team in the conference, Kinkhabwala adds. The former Pro Bowl sack artist being on the block is certainly notable, as NFC teams assess their pass-rushing stables ahead of the Nov. 2 trade deadline, but the Chiefs certainly could use whatever defensive help they can find.
Kansas City’s defense has taken a significant step back this season. The Chiefs rank 28th in total defense and last in sacks, having registered just eight. Despite Chris Jones and Frank Clark playing together for the first time since Week 2, the Chiefs could not stop the Titans in a blowout Week 7 loss. Clark, who was arrested twice on gun charges this offseason, has yet to register a sack in his third year with the Chiefs. Kansas City, which has won five straight AFC West titles, is 3-4 and looking up at the Raiders and Chargers in a suddenly competitive division.
Ingram has one sack and six quarterback hits on his 2021 resume. While the former first-round pick is a bit removed from his peak, he could conceivably help a team as a complementary rusher. The Steelers have moved toward Alex Highsmith as T.J. Watt‘s primary sidekick and played Ingram on only 26% of their defensive snaps in Week 6. This was down from 60% in Week 5. Money is not a major issue here, as Ingram is attached to just a $1.075MM base salary. But the Steelers (3-3) are not exactly out of contention. Would they deal away cheap pass-rushing depth?
This Chiefs regime obviously knows Ingram well from his Chargers days. Working alongside Joey Bosa, Ingram made three straight Pro Bowls from 2017-19 and recorded 43 sacks from 2015-19. That led the Bolts to give him a big-ticket extension in 2017. After giving Bosa a record-setting re-up last year, the Chargers led Ingram walk in free agency.