Believe It Or Not: Pittsburgh Would Trade OLB Melvin Ingram Before The Trade Deadline?

Just as Yinz thought that it was going to be another quiet bye week with the Steelers not slated to play Sunday, national media found a way to get the Pittsburgh Steelers involved before the Week 7 slate got underway. Fellow Steelers Depot contributor Josh Carney shared a piece Sunday morning before kickoff highlighting the report of NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that several names were being mentioned inside NFL circles as potential trade candidates prior to the November 2 trade deadline. One player that Rapoport included in the list was Steelers OLB Melvin Ingram.

Ingram was signed this offseason to a one-year deal worth $4 million. Ingram has been a great depth piece thus far in Pittsburgh, rotating and filling in for both T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith at times to give a breather as well as start in the game against the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this season when both players were out due to groin injuries. However, given the need for proven pass rushers by teams competing for a playoff push, teams have gotten Pittsburgh on the phone to see if they would be willing to part with their newly signed asset this offseason according to Rapoport.

‘The longtime Chargers veteran landed in Pittsburgh this year and has yet to hit his stride,” Rapoport writes. “With inconsistent playing time, teams have begun calling the Steelers about potentially trading for Ingram, and it does appear the Steelers have listened and engaged. Due the balance of just $1.075 million in base salary (the team paid $2.925 million in a signing bonus), Ingram isn’t expensive. The Chiefs have been among those on the hunt around the league for a pass rusher, and they did host Ingram on a visit before he signed.”

It would be difficult to see Pittsburgh part with a player of Ingram’s caliber and value as a key reserve/rotational player for a defense still trying to get on track in terms of pressuring the QB for minimal value. The team has lost much of its draft capital in the middle-to-late rounds of the 2022 NFL due to several trades to fill out the roster, so an Ingram trade could go about recouping some of that lost capital. However, GM Kevin Colbert and HC Mike Tomlin aren’t in the business of “blowing it up” and have every intention to make a playoff push this season, so trading Ingram wouldn’t be very logical from that standpoint for an asset that wouldn’t help you this season.

Ingram’s snaps may have come down in recent weeks with Highsmith and Watt healthy, but he has proven to be a valuable contributor on the defensive side of the ball even in a reduced role, coming in fresh to play chase as a pass rusher as well as aid in run defense. He is a high-end insurance policy and allows Pittsburgh to not have to rely on Derek Tuszka or Taco Charlton to be the immediate backup to Watt and Highsmith.

On the other hand, reports are that Pittsburgh has engaged in such talks, which is to be expected with GM Kevin Colbert doing his due diligence to see how other teams are valuing Ingram in terms of what they are willing to part with to acquire him. Personally, I first thought there was no weight to this report, but after seeing that Pittsburgh was in-fact interested in signing FA Whitney Mercilus before he signed with the Green Bay Packers, this may support the notion that Pittsburgh would be willing to move Ingram for a fair price.

Names like Trent Murphy, Ryan Anderson, Bruce Irvin, and Kamalei Correa are still out there to be signed as free agents off the street, and Charlton may be ready to be activated and play a similar reserve role to Ingram that has a better chance to be retained and brought back next season being only 26 years old. Should Pittsburgh’s focus be on contending this season as we all expect it to be, could there be a chance that Colbert would be willing to move Ingram to another team for a piece that can help them more now and potentially moving forward? Swapping Ingram for an offensive lineman or defensive back could be a move Pittsburgh would be willing to make when considering their roster.

The likelihood of any deal involving Ingram is slim at best but given Pittsburgh’s willingness to engage in trade talks and explore outside free agents at the same position, the topic deserves some weight and should be monitored going forward till the trade deadline passes next week Tuesday.

What are your thoughts on the possibility of Melvin Ingram getting moved before the trade deadline? Do you think these reports carry some weight, or is mainly Kevin Colbert doing “good business”? If Ingram were to be dealt, where could you see him going and what compensation would Pittsburgh look to get in return? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!

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