LA Rams: Will passing up Melvin Ingram haunt team later?

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

To be or not to be, that is the question.

Unless you are a general manager for one of 32 NFL teams. Then, the question is do you pull the trigger or not. For LA Rams general manager Les Snead, that question gets asked a dozen or more times a day. The front office, with the aid of one of the premier data analytics teams in the league, evaluates and assesses dozens of players each day in the hopes of finding a marriage of fit, skillset, cost, durability, and longevity.

When all the power that the Rams organization could bring to bear upon the candidacy of free-agent defensive end/outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, the magic eight-ball answer was “No, not at this time.”  Okay.  The LA Rams passed on Ingram. Was it health questions? Was Ingram asking for too much money?

Well, with the recent announcement of his signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers, we have an opportunity to ask: Will passing on Melvin Ingram come back to haunt the Rams later? What did he sign for with the Steelers anyways?  One year for $4 million, a prove-it deal.

That’s a pretty good number for a guy who put up 24.5 sacks in the three seasons prior to injuring his knee twice during the 2020 season. For the LA Rams, it took a lot of resolve to resist that level of talent for a one-year deal. Let’s discuss why:

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

Assuming that Melvin Ingram was fully healthy and was able to start at outside linebacker for the LA Rams, that solves a pretty significant question for the team in who would start opposite Leonard Floyd. With Ingram’s obvious ability to get after the quarterback already, imagine having him on the same defensive front with Aaron Donald? 12+ sacks would certainly be in the scope of possibilities.

Now let’s talk about a one-year deal at $4 million. That would replace the low man on the totem pole- WR Trishton Jackson – on the 51-man cap calculation. Since Jackson was already nearly at $800k, the additional salary cap hit for Ingram would actually be just $3.2 million added dollars.

Oh, but there’s more.

Let’s follow this one through. Ingram plays for one year and then, with his career rejuvenated with a 12 sack season, lands a lucrative edge rusher deal that happens all the time in the NFL. The LA Rams would likely be in the mix to be awarded either a third or fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Hmm… Let’s recap?  A position where depth is a question mark. Potential 12+ quarterback sacks at a net cost of $3.2 million. And at the end of one year, the likelihood of being awarded either an additional third or fourth-round draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. And the analytics folks nor the front office could find enough reason to pull the trigger on a deal like that?

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Okay. But I sure hope passing on Melvin Ingram now won’t haunt the team later.