Hypothetically, if the Dallas Cowboys were to pursue a deal prior to next Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, the emerging Super Bowl contenders likely would focus their efforts on the defensive side of the ball, perhaps eyeing potential DeMarcus Lawrence or Jaylon Smith replacements as has been speculated.
And, thus, a hypothetical trade scenario has emerged that would net Dallas an additional pass-rusher to pair with team sack leader Randy Gregory and rookie sensation Micah Parsons.
On Wednesday, The Ringer’s Ben Solak proposed the Cowboys send a 2023 fourth-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for outside linebacker Melvin Ingram.
“With Ingram in hand, the Cowboys can add another body to their rotation and shore up depth once Lawrence returns from injury,” Solak writes. “Ingram is an intuitive pairing with Parsons and Gregory, in that all three are dangerous interior rushers, and Parsons and Ingram can both drop into coverage. He is a force multiplier for a line that has likely been surpassing expectations this season.”
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Background Info on Ingram
The 18th overall selection in the 2012 draft, many associate Ingram with his long and productive stint in San Diego/Los Angeles. There, he totaled 360 tackles (265 solo), 108 quarterback hits, and 14 forced fumbles across 113 games, including 96 starts — as well as three straight Pro Bowl nods from 2017-19, a stretch that featured 24.5 of his 50 career sacks.
After ending the 2020 campaign on injured reserve, Ingram bolted the Chargers and eventually landed a one-year free-agent contract from this Steelers this past July, right before the start of training camp. The 32-year-old has made six appearances but only one start for Pittsburgh, phased out in favor of sophomore OLB Alex Highsmith.
“Ingram hasn’t been bad for the Steelers at all. He’s tied with T.J. Watt for second on the team lead in pressures (18) and win rate (17.6 percent), despite delivering far fewer sacks (one to Watt’s six),” Solak wrote. “But his snap counts have been decreasing over recent weeks, as the Steelers prioritize the three-down ability of emerging pass rusher Alex Highsmith, a third-round pick in 2020. Ingram took at least 60 percent of the snaps in each of the first three games; in the last three games, he’s never broken that number. As such, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network named Ingram as a player discussed by teams approaching the trade deadline.”
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Cowboys Neither Buyers Nor Sellers?
In a radio interview last Friday, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones intimated that finding roster room for returning players, such as wide receiver Michael Gallup, takes immediate precedent over acquiring talent from the trade market. In other words, don’t expect much activity prior to the approaching deadline.
“We’re open for business year-round” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, per the official team website. “On the other hand, we got a unique situation because we’ve got players coming that we’re gonna have to have roster spots for. We got a little bigger problem than trading for somebody right now.”
Preceding Jerry’s remarks were that of his son, team vice president Stephen Jones, who admitted there is nothing presently on the “front-burner” regarding possible trade discussions, as the Cowboys appear content with the construction of their 5-1 squad.
“Not at this point with anything on the front-burner. It’s always nice if there’s an opportunity out there. … But at the same time, we have a lot of confidence in this roster,” Jones said last Thursday on 96.7 The Ticket, per The Athletic.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL