Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Offers ‘Honest’ Explanation for Trading Melvin Ingram

Melvin Ingram III Chiefs

David Eulitt/Getty Images Melvin Ingram of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates a win against the Denver Broncos as he leaves the field at Arrowhead Stadium on December 5, 2021.

It’s no surprise that Melvin Ingram’s name came up during Mike Tomlin’s press conference on Tuesday afternoon. The Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated since acquiring Ingram from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 2022 sixth-round pick back in early November. In those six games, Kansas City’s defense has allowed more than 14 points on just one occasion, that coming on Thursday December 16 during a 34-28 overtime win over the Los Angeles Chargers. And if past participation is any guide, Ingram figures to be part of more than half of Kansas City’s defensive snaps when the Chiefs (10-4) take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1) this weekend at Arrowhead Stadium.

Asked if the Steelers considered Ingram’s potential impact on the Chiefs’ defense when making the trade, Tomlin said that was not a factor in the decision-making process.

“We didn’t weigh their circumstances, no. We weighed our circumstances,” Tomlin said. “Not only the tangible element of our circumstances, but the intangible quality that makes up team. Like I mentioned when we moved him, we had an opportunity to get value for him, and so that was entertaining and interesting for us. But also, to be quite honest with you and blunt, Melvin no longer wanted to be here. And for us, we prefer volunteers as opposed to hostages,” he concluded, invoking a commonly-referenced Tomlinism.

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How Much Will Ingram Play Against the Steelers?

It remains to be seen how much of an impact Ingram has on Sunday’s game. According to Pro Football Reference, the 2012 first-round pick has been a part of 57% of Kansas City’s defensive snaps over the course of the six games he has been with the team (three starts). His production has been modest; he’s been responsible for 10 tackles (three solo), with one sack, one tackle for loss and three quarterback hits. On its face, that’s not enough to generate any added concern on the part of Tomlin and offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

The Ingram Trade Added Much-Needed Draft Capital

It’s also worth noting that the draft pick acquired in the Ingram trade has the Steelers back up to six selections in the 2022 NFL Draft. Pittsburgh is short on picks because it traded its own fourth-, fifth- and sixth round selections in deals to acquire defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk, inside linebacker Avery Williamson and inside linebacker Joe Schobert.

However, the Steelers could still be awarded as many as two compensatory picks in the 2022 Draft, compensation for losing outside linebacker Bud Dupree to the Tennessee Titans and offensive lineman Matt Feiler to the Los Angeles Chargers. Early projections indicated those comp picks might be third- and fifth-rounders, though the compensation for Dupree could drop to a fourth-rounder based on his lack of playing time during his first season with the Titans.

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