One reason for that was the improved health of starters like Chris Jones and Juan Thornhill but another was veteran pass rusher Melvin Ingram III, who GM Brett Veach acquired at the trade deadline.
Now the ex-Chargers rival has become a fan favorite to some extent and many would like to see him return to Kansas City in 2022. Unfortunately, a free agency coaching link could impact those plans.
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Gus Bradley Hire Could Lure Ingram to Indy
During a February 21 Colts article on FanSided, analyst John Buhler noted an interesting coaching tie that has emerged between Ingram and Indianapolis. He wrote:
The former South Carolina standout will be entering his age-33 season. He has made plenty of money with the Bolts, but he is still chasing a Super Bowl ring. Not to say the Colts are any closer [to] doing that than any of his three previous teams, [but] Indianapolis did hire his former Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. He will be replacing Matt Eberflus on that side of the ball.
Buhler continued: “With the bulk of his success having come in this defensive scheme, it would make a ton of sense for Ingram to reunite with Bradley in Indianapolis. It may not be on a long-term deal, as Reich does enter 2022 on the hot seat. However, Ingram is one good offseason from getting back to the player he once was in his prime for the Chargers. Familiarity with Bradley gets him to Indianapolis. Ingram may be a shot fighter, but the Colts have enough cap space to outbid most for his services.”
The FanSided contributor makes some good points. For example, the Colts can easily outbid the Chiefs if it came down to money. The link to Bradley is obviously the major dagger if Ingram decides to test the free agency waters though.
Kansas City does have one thing going for them, championship relevance. Only one NFL franchise can say that they’ve played in their conference’s championship game each of the past four seasons and that’s the Chiefs.
If Ingram is still ring-hunting in 2022, an Arrowhead reunion might be his best play.
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How Much Should KC Be Willing to Pay?
Ingram did generate pressures with Kansas City but his sack numbers have plummeted since 2019 — two over the past 22 games with the Chargers, Steelers and Chiefs.
Pro Football Focus credited him with 33 QB pressures for KC — tied for third-most behind Jones and Frank Clark — and five QB hits. The question is, what sort of valuation does Veach place on that type of under-the-radar production?
This is anticipated to be a fairly strong draft class for edge rushers so that could affect pricing as well. In the end, if it does come down to Indy vs. Kansas City, Veach just has to remind Ingram which team has Patrick Mahomes under center.