The Chargers have hired a new coaching staff, and will soon be moving to a new city. At least this spring, they won’t have to worry about finding a new defensive star.
On Monday, the team placed a franchise tag on outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, keeping the 27-year-old pass rusher in the fold for at least another season. Ingram’s presence across from Joey Bosa, the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, gives the Chargers’ defensive front a pair of outstanding bookends as it transitions to a 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
Ingram was set to be one of the top free agents on the market this offseason, and could have commanded a multi-year contract worth roughly $50 million.
If the Chargers do not reach a long-term deal with Ingram by July 15, they will pay him around $15 million or $17 million in 2017 – depending on whether he is designated as a linebacker or a defensive end, respectively. That would take up nearly all of the Chargers’ cap space, which is projected to be around $20 million.
Ingram’s tag is non-exclusive, which allows other teams to negotiate with him in free agency, but preserves the Chargers’ right to match any offer. If the Chargers then declined, they would receive two first-round picks.
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