The trade deadline is less than 24 hours away. If the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to move on from veteran outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, then we are going to know within that time, by 4 PM tomorrow. At this point, we certainly can’t be surprised if it does happen.
The 32-year-old former Pro Bowler signed with the Steelers just before training camp on a one-year, $4 million contract, looking to revitalize his market after playing through injury last season. The only problem is, Pittsburgh wasn’t looking for a starter, not after the way second-year Alex Highsmith tore through training camp and the preseason.
With Highsmith and T.J. Watt now both back to something close to full health after dealing with groin injuries, there hasn’t been much meat left on the bone for Ingram, in spite of the fact that he has played well. He has one sack and six hits, along with two tackles for loss and a pass defensed, in 246 snaps played so far this year.
That is through only six games, because he mysteriously came down with a groin injury himself. And on top of that, he didn’t travel with the team to face the Cleveland Browns yesterday, even though tight end Eric Ebron, also out with a knee injury, did.
It certainly sounds like he wants out, and Aditi Kinkhabwala reported as much earlier today in an appearance on 93.7 FM The Fan with Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller this afternoon, talking about potentially trading Ingram away.
“I do feel that they need to move on from Melvin Ingram”, she said. “He doesn’t want to be here. He doesn’t want to be a part of this team. Mike Tomlin loves to say he wants volunteers, not hostages. So, try to get what you can get”.
When asked why Ingram doesn’t want to be in Pittsburgh, she said, “because he thinks he’s a starter. He thinks that he can play more than he is playing. He thinks that he’s better than Alex Highsmith, and that’s not what the Steelers organization believes”.
What is interesting is that Kinkhabwala was asked if she feels that Ingram was misled, for example about playing time expectations, when he was first signed, and she gave a very simple no answer. She also suggests that Ingram may have felt that he earned more playing time based on what he’d already done early in the season.
The bottom line is it sounds like Ingram is going to be moved, that the Steelers are actively working toward it and that Ingram expects to be in another place by the end of tomorrow. Pittsburgh doesn’t want to send him to an AFC team, or a contender, however, which is far from shocking.
Ingram came in looking like an ideal employee, and he was while he was contributing to the level that he was happy with. But this is a guy at the end of his career looking for his last great opportunity, and he’s not going to play a lot when the others are healthy. He played only 17 snaps in the final game before the bye, in an overtime game.