Now that the regular season has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: OLB Melvin Ingram
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: The Steelers agreed to trade Ingram for a conditional sixth-round pick yesterday to the Kansas City Chiefs.
It’s not often that we actually get to write about a ‘sold’ case here where the Steelers really kind of ‘sold’ a player, but I guess that’s what a trade is. Pittsburgh sent Melvin Ingram away in exchange for compensation, in this case a sixth-round pick that is reportedly to be conditional, though we don’t yet know the conditions.
The original signing of Ingram shortly before the start of training camp was met with widespread approval, inking an experienced veteran pass rusher for just $4 million. There was a point where it seemed too good to be true; apparently it was.
As T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith got healthier after dealing with groin injuries, and their playing time increased, Ingram’s playing time decreased, and he grew unhappy with his role. According to Aditi Kinkhabwala, he believes that he is better than Highsmith and should be playing over him.
The Steelers disagreed, and neither party wanted to continue the relationship as it stood, with Ingram seemingly unwilling to ‘play ball’, metaphorically. Fittingly, Ingram missed their last game with a ‘groin’ injury that can be fairly questioned, as Pittsburgh held talks with the Chiefs about moving him.
In his place is Taco Charlton, a fifth-year former first-round draft pick who was on the practice squad for the first five games before being elevated on Sunday and playing 10 snaps in his Steelers debut. He has now been promoted to the 53-man roster, taking Ingram’s spot. He and Derrek Tuszka are the team’s depth at the position.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Ingram certainly flashed talent this year in his snaps with the Steelers. He deployed an effective spin move in the pass rush, and was a very willing run defender who displays his veteran wisdom. It’s unfortunate that the situation evidently became untenable. But we’re here now, and there’s no backsies.