Dolphins Sign Melvin Ingram

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News broke Sunday that despite the Chiefs placing a UFA tender on Melvin Ingram, the edge defender would be leaving Kansas City to join the Miami Dolphins on a one year deal. 


Charles Robinson @CRob5769

Lead Writer – @ChiefsFocus


There was optimism when Brett Veach placed the UFA tender on Melvin Ingram, a tag essentially guaranteeing the Chiefs would maintain the rights to the defensive end on a 1 year contract worth $4.4 million (10% higher than his salary last season) if no other teams were to offer a higher number. On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins did just that, offering and signing Ingram to a 1 year, $5 million contract to lure him away from Kansas City. 


In 9 games with the Chiefs in 2021, Ingram made an immediate impact. He did not blow anyone away on the stat sheet – he recorded 15 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 5 QB Hits, and 11 QB pressures – but his presence on the field and in the lockerrom were felt immediately. Ingram played “angry” according to Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. “I love it. He just knocks people around, and I think that’s contagious.” It appeared to be. In the final 9 games of the regular season, the Chiefs were 8-1, clinching the AFC’s number 2 seed behind a resurgent defensive unit.


Prior to trading a 6th round pick to Pittsburgh for Ingram’s services, the Chiefs defensive unit was allowing nearly 28 points per game and were near the bottom of the league in almost every defensive category. After adding Ingram, and moving Chris Jones back inside to his natural defensive tackle position, the KC defense allowed under 16 points per game the rest of the way. 


The Chiefs will receive a compensatory draft pick with the Dolphins signing Ingram – either a 6th or 7th round pick in next year’s draft. Ingram will join former Chiefs Tyreek Hill and Emmanuel Ogbah in Miami. Hill was traded to the Dolphins in March, and Ogbah joined the team as a free agent after the 2019 season on a modest 2-year $15 million dollar deal. After back to back sack seasons in South Beach, he cashed in this offseason with a 4 year, $65.4 million extension. 


While Veach and the Chiefs seemed primed to pay Ingram $4.4 million for the upcoming season, the $5 million price tag (which KC could have matched with the UFA tender) was apparently too high. The Chiefs will have roughly $14 million in cap space once all rookies are signed, so why not spend an extra $600K on a player that we all know makes an impact on the defensive unit? 


Well, it comes down to needs more so than wants. The Chiefs used the 30th overall pick in this year’s draft on Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis. They also have reserves in Mike Danna, Tershawn Wharton, and last year’s 4th round draft pick Joshua Kaindoh to play on the edge of the defense. At the moment, defensive tackle appears to be more of a need. Outside of Chris Jones and Derek Nnadi, the cupboard is fairly bare. Khalen Saunders comes into a put up or shut up year in 2022 where he will need to show that he can stay on the field to warrant the Chiefs re-upping him. Tershawn Wharton can play inside, but is likely more effective on the outside of the front 4 where he can utilize his athleticism and avoid taking on guards and centers that are stronger than him. 


There are several veteran free agents still available at defensive tackle. Players like Star Lotulelei, Ndamukong Suh, Malik Jackson, and Akiem Hicks are all available, and all appear to still have gas in the tank. Hicks might be the most dynamic fit of all, with an undeniable abiity to rush the passer from the inside, he could create quite the interior pass rushing tandem with Chris Jones and make life easier on the rookie Karlaftis. He could also bolster the production of Frank Clark, who took a pay cut to stay in Kansas City and could certainly use a productive season in 2022. 


While Ingram’s presence will be missed, the defense still gives cause for excitement to Chiefs Kingdom. With a influx of young, talented rookies and free agents coming into KC this offseason, the defense looks primed for a complete reload. Steve Spagnuolo’s unit should be one that flies around the field, and as they continue to grow and learn one another throughout the course of 2022, could be a dangerous group when playoff time rolls around.

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