It was the news many Steelers fans were expecting prior to the NFL trading deadline at 4 PM on Tuesday. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Pittsburgh Steelers are trading edge rusher Melvin Ingram to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick.
UPDATE: The Steelers have officially announced the trade of Ingram to Kansas City in exchange for a 2022 sixth-round draft pick.
We have traded LB Melvin Ingram III to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2022 sixth-round draft pick. @BordasLaw— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 2, 2021
News surfaced in recent weeks that Ingram had become dissatisfied with his playing time for the Steelers. With head coach Mike Tomlin‘s philosophy of, “volunteers not hostages” it is of little surprise that Ingram was traded as long as the Steelers found a suitor.
After nine years as a first-round draft pick with the first San Diego, then Los Angeles Chargers, Ingram had three Pro Bowls from 2017 through 2019. After injuries hampered his 2020 season, Ingram was not re-signed by the Chargers and continued to be a free agent into the summer. Needing depth at the edge rusher position, Ingram was brought in by the Steelers, likely with the full knowledge that T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith were their expected starters.
While with the Steelers, Ingram registered his first sack since 2019 in the Steelers Week 2 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. With both Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt slowed down with groin injuries early in the season, Ingram saw a large number of snaps through the Steelers first three weeks of the season and played 100% of the Steelers defensive snaps against the Cincinnati Bengals when both Watt and Highsmith were inactive. With both players back the following week, Ingram still logged almost 50% of the Steelers defensive snaps against Green Bay and had 60% in Week 5 against the Denver Broncos. It wasn’t until Week 6 in the Steelers win over the Seahawks in overtime where Ingram saw a reduction in snaps all the way down to 26%. Dealing with a groin injury himself, Ingram was inactive in Week 8 against the Cleveland Browns.
In the six games for the Steelers, Ingram totaled 1.0 sacks, 10 tackles, six quarterback hits, and one pass defensed.
According to Rapoport, the Steelers will be receiving a sixth-round draft pick in return. It was not specified if the pick is in the 2022 NFL draft or if it will be in a later year. (UPDATE: It is a 2022 sixth-round draft pick)
With Ingram on his way to Kansas City, the Pittsburgh Steelers have three outside linebackers on their 53-man roster in T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, and Derrek Tuszka. The Steelers elevated edge rusher Taco Charlton for the game against the Browns and is a likely candidate to fill Ingram’s spot on the roster.
While some Steelers’ fans may be frustrated with the compensation the Steelers got in return for Ingram, apparently there was not much of a market for the 32-year-old pass rusher. This according to ESPN’s Kimberley Martin:
As for the financial ramification of the trade, there has not been any report of Kansas City taking on any of Inrgam’s additional contract at this time. If this is the case, the Chiefs will only be responsible for the almost $600k in salary for the remainder of 2021. Ingram was reported to have a $2.925 million signing bonus with four additional void years. If the signing bonus is all being covered by the Steelers, Ingram should count $2.34 million in dead money toward the Steelers 2022 salary cap.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to face the Chicago Bears this Monday night at Heinz Field.
To listen to all the detail of the trade, check out the BTSC breaking news podcast below.