Should Jaguars sign free-agent DE Melvin Ingram to bolster pass rush?

Defensive end Melvin Ingram #54 and defensive line coach Giff Smith (Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)
Defensive end Melvin Ingram #54 and defensive line coach Giff Smith (Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars have done a good job of fortifying their defensive line this offseason, locking up their own players, signing others in free agency, and adding a couple in the 2021 NFL Draft. The unit looks in good shape ahead of training camp, but is there still room for former Los Angeles Chargers defensive line Melvin Ingram III?

Martin Fenn of Bleacher Report recently projected the best homes for some remaining free agents and believes Jacksonville is the best landing spot for Ingram. He points out that the 2012 first-round pick has been productive throughout his career and mentions that even though he had a down year in 2020 — he didn’t record a sack—  he still posted a healthy 76.3 Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade.

Fenn is aware Ingram isn’t getting any younger and is coming off a knee injury but is still good enough to beat offensive tackles at the point of attack. Later, he mentions that the Jaguars still have the most cap space in the NFL and thinks the EDGE defender is an enticing post-draft option that can “provide veteran leadership for a young roster”.

How would Melvin Ingram fit with the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Ingram may be better suited for a complementary role at this point of his career. Although he posted 43 sacks from 2015 to 2019, it’s uncertain if he will be able to fully bounce back from the knee injury that bugged him last year. Also, it looks Jacksonville will go with Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson as their primary pass-rushers, so Ingram wouldn’t have a featured role.

On the other hand, the Jaguars fortified their defensive front this offseason but they didn’t bring in a top-end pass rusher. If Ingram is healthy he’s talented enough to have a significant role in Jacksonville’s defensive line rotation, so let’s say the Jaguars are interested in adding the veteran, would he be able to accept a modest salary? There’s a reason he’s still available and if a team was willing to pay him top-market money, it would’ve already been a done deal.

Also, would Ingram be ok in a rotational role? If so, the Jaguars should kick the tires on him even though they aren’t in dire need of a pass-rusher. They just drafted Jordan Smith and brought back Dawuane Smoot and Adam Gotsis in the offseason but if Ingram has made a full recovery from his knee injury, he could offer an upgrade on defense.

Next. Signing Tim Tebow seems like a matter of time. dark