The Pittsburgh Steelers have added more help to their defensive front in the form of veteran edge rusher Melvin Ingram. According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the Steelers are signing the 32-year-old Ingram to a one-year deal.
According to CBS Sport's Jason La Canfora, the one-year deal is worth $4 million for Ingram.
Ingram will help shore up the edge position opposite of All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt. The veteran will join second-year Alex Highsmith in filling the void of former first-round pick Bud Dupree who departed in free agency to sign with the Tennessee Titans. Highsmith performed admirably as a rookie when filling in after Dupree suffered a season-ending ACL injury and is in store for more on his plate in his second season. Ingram will provide a veteran presence to an otherwise young group of edge rushers on Pittsburgh's roster.
Ingram was limited to just seven games last season with the Los Angeles Chargers due to a knee injury. In those seven appearances, the three-time Pro Bowler recorded only 10 combined tackles, five quarterback hits, zero sacks, zero tackles for loss, and one interception. Putting Ingram on a snap count this season will likely be the plan in order to keep him fresh throughout the year after missing 12 games in the last two seasons.
Ingram was drafted by the Chargers with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, where he spent all nine seasons of his career up to this point. During that span, Ingram recorded a total of 360 combined tackles, 70 tackles for loss, 49 sacks (a season-high of 10.5), 108 quarterback hits, 14 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries, one defensive touchdown, three interceptions, and 28 passes defended. He made the Pro Bowl in three straight seasons from 2017 to 2019.
The Steelers will look to once again field one of the league's best defenses after finishing the 2020 season with the most sacks in the NFL with 56, the most quarterback hits with 137, the highest pressure rate in the league at 35.1%, and finishing in the top three of total yards allowed, total passing yards, and points allowed. Watt is the star of the defense now, but alongside him on the defensive line is Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Hayward, forming one of the league's fiercest pass rushes. Replacing Dupree's 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons will likely be a duty split among multiple players this season, including Ingram, Highsmith, Cassius Marsh, and rookie sixth-round pick Quincy Roche. If Ingram can return to form following last year's knee injury then it's possible that Pittsburgh's pass rush could be even better this season than in recent years.
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