The Los Angeles Chargers placed the franchise tag on linebacker Melvin Ingram in an effort to continue negotiations for a long term contract. The tag will also keep Ingram from becoming a free agent on March 9 when the new league year begins.
If a contract is not finalized prior to the July 15 deadline Ingram will play 2017 under the tag with no new contract available until after the season in Los Angeles. Ingram’s tag is “non-exclusive” meaning he can negotiate with other teams and if an offer is received, the Chargers can match it or lose Ingram and gain two first-round picks. His salary for the upcoming year would be determined from the average of the top five salaries paid at his position last season, approximately $16.8 million.
After battling various injuries, including a torn ACL, Ingram has excelled over the past two seasons. Fully healthy and playing in every game the Chargers’ pass rusher has accumulated 18.5 sacks over the past two years.
Ingram has also been responsible for eight forced fumbles, one recovery, and 98 tackles.
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New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is making the switch from a 3-4 defense to his more familiar 4-3 scheme. An outside linebacker with rush capabilities, Ingram’s fit into the new system should be a good one. Coupled with rookie Defensive Player of the Year Joey Bosa and a return of other key defensive pieces from injury, the Chargers may be on the edge of a breakout season.
Ingram was named a defensive captain following the loss of then leading tackler Manti Te’o. Expected to return in 2017, Bradley has to be excited about the opportunity to join a team with so many pieces already in place. If Ingram and the Chargers’ front office can work out the details a bright future is anticipated in Los Angeles.