Ex-Steelers LB Melvin Ingram Shuns Chiefs, Joins Yet Another Playoff Contender

Melvin Ingram III

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks of the Philadelphia Eagles attempt to block Melvin Ingram of the Pittsburgh Steelers during a preseason game on August 12, 2021.

On May 18, the Miami Dolphins announced the signing of former Chargers first-round pick Melvin Ingram III. It’s a one-year, $5 million contract, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. It’s also Ingram’s third team in less than a year, after short stints with both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs.

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The Steelers Traded a Disgruntled Ingram to the Chiefs Last November

Ingram, 33, has led an unsettled NFL existence since last year. After a nine-year run with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers that featured three Pro Bowl seasons (2017-19), the Hamlet, N.C. native inked a one-year contract with the Steelers in July 2021. The team expected him to play a depth role behind 2021 Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt and fellow outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, but he soon became unhappy with his role.

Specifically, he thought he should be starting over Highsmith, a former third-round pick in his second season with the team. But head coach Mike Tomlin & Co. did not agree, and ultimately shipped him off to the Chiefs in a trade deadline deal for a 2022 sixth-round draft pick, with Tomlin later admitting that “Melvin did not want to be here.” Never mind that the fact that the Chiefs were on Pittsburgh’s schedule in December, and that the Chiefs were a fellow playoff contender, one that the Steelers would see yet again in the postseason.

Ingram went on to appear in nine games for the Chiefs, in which he recorded 15 total tackles (seven solo), including two tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, a sack and a forced fumble. Those numbers aren’t all that different than the ones Ingram posted during the six games he played for the Steelers, during which he had 10 total tackles (five solo), plus six quarterback hits and a sack — all according to Pro Football Reference.

Notably, the Chiefs were open to bringing Ingram back for another season, having placed an UFA tender on him in early May, which provided for a salary of $4.4 million, or 110 percent of his 2021 pay. But Ingram continued to shop around for a more lucrative offer with another team — having until July 22 in which to do so — hence the deal with the Dolphins. With Ingram moving on, Kansas City is eligible to receive a compensatory draft pick in the 2023 Draft.

In Miami, Ingram will continue an NFL career that has spanned 128 regular-season games (with 103 starts) and has produced 385 total tackles (277 solo), including 74 tackles for loss, 51 sacks, 119 quarterback hits, three interceptions, 15 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and 29 passes defensed.

He entered the league in 2012, having been selected No. 18 overall by the Chargers out of South Carolina, where he played both linebacker and defensive end for Steve Spurrier between 2007-11.

The Steelers will go against Ingram again this season, as Pittsburgh is scheduled to play at Miami on Sunday October 23, 2022. The sixth-round pick acquired in the Ingram trade was used to select tight end/fullback Connor Heyward, the younger brother of Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward.

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Steelers Rookie DB Bryce Watts Reverts to Injured Reserve

In another development from Tuesday May 17, 2022, rookie undrafted free agent cornerback Bryce Watts cleared waivers and was placed on the team’s Reserve/Injured list. Watts was waived injured on May 16. Earlier this year, the former Duke University defensive back declared himself the “BEST CORNER” in this year’s draft class.

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