A long time staple of the Chargers defense, Melvin Ingram, still very much is one of the most athletic defensive ends in football. He can play in any system or scheme asked of him along the front seven. However many people have come to the conclusion that he is washed up. This is mainly due to his injuries and the fact he accounted for zero sacks this past season. Is it really so cut a dry though or is it more complicated than that. The decision to come on Melvin is a difficult one for me as I believe he still has enough left in the tank and yet I believe in the potential that a guy like Uchenna Nwosu brings and probably deserves a shot to start.
While the zero sacks is never a good look, they only tell part of the story. In fact often times I have said publicly that sacks are overrated. That’s not meant to diminish the importance of the stat but simply to bring light to a stat that doesn’t get enough credit. What I’m referring to happens to be Quarterback hurries. A QB hurry tells me that a player is winning his pass rushing match up and forcing a quarterback to either evade the pocket or force a player into anothers arms. How many times have we seen a guy almost get a sack but then the quarterback runs into another players tackle radius (cough cough Jerry Tillery) giving him credit on paper when we all know that it was really caused and credited to the guy the quarterback happened to be running from. I bring this up because it just so happens that Ingram has 28 QB hurries in just the 7 games he played this year. He even still managed a 76.3 pass rushing grade. This leads me to believe that it’s more than likely he was playing through injuries and while I applaud this attempt in this particular case it happened to hurt his own stock.
He did manage 7 sacks the year before but has only managed double digit sacks just twice in his career. To top that off his run defense fell off a ton this year with a 53.8 grade against the run. I have heard some people say that he isn’t as focused or motivated because he is not all in on football. They are essentially pointing towards his self funded music career. This is something that could be a possibility but there is no real way to know for sure and might be just the fans gripping. Last season he did not live up to his 16 million dollars a year price tag. This upcoming season he won’t be getting nearly as much. This is factoring in and considering his age, down year, and the fact that he has already got one real big contract in his career. According to Spotrac.com his market value should be around 11 million a year.
If it were up to me I would offer him a contact. However it would be for even a little less than market value, say 9 million per year. I would say that could be a good starting point in conversations. If he is unwilling to accept a lower amount then the front office should be willing to be all in on Nwosu.