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2021 South Side Questions: Should Steelers Have Put Up With A Disgruntled Melvin Ingram?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.

They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.

There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: Should the Steelers have put up with a malcontent in Melvin Ingram rather than trade him for a late-round pick?

There is more than one school of thought when it comes to handling a disgruntled player on an NFL team. There are certainly many people who are against the notion of ‘giving in’ and acquiescing the player’s request to leave the team, one way or another.

The theory is that it sets a bad precedent that suggests players can get out of contracts by throwing tantrums…which isn’t entirely untrue. At least in the Steelers’ own past, they have parted ways with players like LeGarrette Blount, Antonio Brown, and James Harrison, although in Harrison’s case it wasn’t exclusively because of his behavior—they kept him on the roster until they had a roster move they wanted to make, bringing a player off of IR.

What do you do when a player basically makes it clear that they’re not going to play for you, though? What do you gain by carrying a disgruntled employee, losing his services while also getting no tangible value for his?

The Steelers only had one bidder for Ingram, that being the Kansas City Chiefs. All they got for it was a conditional sixth-round pick, they we don’t know if the conditions, if met (or not met), would increase or decrease the value of the pick.

What would be Ingram’s story right now, though, if he wasn’t traded? Would he be practicing? Would he try to play the good soldier? Would he have been trying to rock the boat? We don’t know the inner workings of the situation, so it’s hard to say, but the fact that they did, in fact, trade him is pretty telling, to some degree.

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