Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin likes to say that “we need volunteers, not hostages.” Well, it seems more and more like veteran outside linebacker Melvin Ingram III considers himself a hostage, which argues for the Steelers trading him away prior to the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline on Tuesday November 2.
“From what I’ve been told, they are indeed working it and … he believes he will not be here,” said NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala, while appearing on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon.
Speaking with PM Show hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller, she went on to reveal what she’s heard about the Ingram situation, and why he is disgruntled.
“I do feel like they need to move on from Melvin Ingram,” she said. “He doesn’t want to be here. He doesn’t want to be part of this team.
“It’s because he believes he’s a starter,” added Kinkhabwala. “He thinks that he can play more than what he is playing. He thinks that he’s better than (second-year outside linebacker) Alex Highsmith, and that’s not what the Steelers organization believes.”
It’s worth noting that Ingram, 32, came to Pittsburgh knowing full well that he would be serving as the primary backup behind starters T.J. Watt and the aforementioned Highsmith.
But he played relatively effectively when both Watt and Highsmith missed time with groin injuries early in the season, and that may have contributed to Ingram’s elevated opinion of himself, said Kinkhabwala.
“When you are a starter for a period of time or you are playing a lot of snaps you believe you can do it and it’s intoxicating,” she concluded.
Will the Steelers Pull the Trigger on a Deal?
The biggest impediment to the Steelers trading away Ingram is that the team has precious little depth behind Watt and Highsmith. Without Ingram, it’s a big step down to the likes of former MVFC Defensive Player of the Year Derrek Tuszka, not to mention Taco Charlton, the latter a former first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys who made his Steelers debut this past Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
The Steelers are also hesitant to send Ingram to another AFC team.
“Kansas City has come up with an offer but the Steelers don’t want him to go to a team they are going to face and they don’t want him to go to an AFC team,” noted Kinkhabwala, who has suggested that the Arizona Cardinals might be a good trade partner.
The belief that Ingram did not travel to Cleveland with his teammates this past weekend, per ESPN’s Kimberly A. Martin, only adds credence to the idea that the Steelers are trying to deal him.
If they do send Ingram packing, the Steelers will be parting ways with a three-time Pro Bowler who has 50 career sacks. This season he has played in six games for the Steelers with one start. During that time he has recorded 10 total tackles with two tackles for loss, six quarterback hits, one sack and one pass defensed, this coming in the course of 246 defensive snaps and 13 special teams snaps, per Pro Football Reference.
Ingram signed a one-year contract with the Steelers in mid-July after also receiving interest from the Chiefs and Miami Dolphins. According to overthecap.com, he is being paid $4 million this year and there are four void years in the contract for salary cap purposes.
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