Everyone wants to know what Indianapolis Colts‘ general manager Chris Ballard will do this offseason. Even though he wants to heavily rely on the draft, he could make a free agency splash by targeting pass rusher Melvin Ingram.
In his introductory press conference, Ballard expressed his desire to build this franchise through the draft. He did say he would test the free agent landscape but also wants to be “careful” about the players he signs. He does not want free agents to make up the majority of his team.
It is great Ballard wants to put a lot of emphasis on the draft. However, the Colts have a lot of different needs and right now, only have seven draft picks. Ballard may be forced into offering a few sizable contracts in free agency as a result.
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One free agent that could draw some interest from the Colts is outside linebacker Melvin Ingram. The Los Angeles Chargers‘ edge rusher could hit the free agent market this summer, assuming his team does not lock him to an extension or slap the franchise tag on.
Ingram had eight sacks in 2016 to back his breakout 2015 season where he earned 10.5 sacks. He also started all 32 regular seasons games and collected 125 combined tackles over that same time span.
The five-year pro turns 28 years old in April and has proved himself to be a solid pass rusher after struggling in his first three years in the NFL. His pass rushing services would be a great addition to the Colts’ non-threatening defense.
Indianapolis is desperately in need of a new, more explosive pass rusher. Long-time edge rusher Robert Mathis is retiring. Meanwhile, older veterans Erik Walden and Trent Cole will be free agents this summer. Ingram could add some new life to the Colts’ dormant pass rush.
"“Chuck Pagano needs pass-rushers, you say? He should pick up the phone and ask his brother about Melvin Ingram. John Pagano would certainly endorse a big Colts move after tutoring Ingram for the edge-rusher’s entire professional career.”"
Signing a edge pass rusher will be expensive. However, an edge rusher is one of the positions teams cannot afford to be cheap at. A pass rusher can change the complexion of a game in one play (see Jadeveon Clowney‘s sack on Luck in Week 14).
The Colts had one of the worst pass defenses in 2016 because they could not generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Ingram would be a quick, solid remedy to their pass rushing woes.
Teams can start talking to potential free agents on March 7. So, a lot of things can change from now to then.
However, one thing that will not change during that time frame is the Colts’ need for a pass rusher. If Ingram is available once the free agency period begins, the Colts should meet and extend a offer to him.