The Los Angeles Chargers have opted to give the franchise tag to linebacker Melvin Ingram. Even though the Chargers finished just 5-11 in their final season in San Diego, Ingram put together a solid season. The 27-year-old racked up 60 tackles, eight sacks, and four forced fumbles.
Since Ingram is a pass rusher, he could have received either the linebacker or defensive end franchise tender, but the team ultimately tagged him as a linebacker. The linebacker tag is estimated to be worth a little under $15 million, while defensive ends will earn around $17 million under the tag.
Ingram’s situation is similar to the one Von Miller faced a year ago. Miller is listed as a linebacker, but he rushes the quarterback most of the time. He received the linebacker franchise tag last year but then he signed a lucrative contract extension with the Denver Broncos before the season began.
Since the Chargers drafted him in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Ingram has been a model of consistency for the franchise. In five seasons, he registered 203 tackles, 24.5 sacks, and 11 forced fumbles. He is arguably the team’s best pass rusher.
The Chargers also have Joey Bosa, who won the 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Bosa and Ingram combined for 18.5 sacks in 2016, and it makes sense the team wanted to keep this pass-rushing duo together.
The price tag for premium pass rushers is pretty high, so it’s possible the Chargers want to see how Ingram fits into new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s scheme before giving him a contract extension. Ingram and the Chargers have until July 15 to reach agreement on a long-term deal, or he’ll have to play the 2017 season under the franchise tag.