The Steelers will have a new pass rusher when the team opens training camp on Wednesday. Pittsburgh has signed former Chargers Pro Bowler Melvin Ingram to a one-year deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Ingram reportedly drew interest from the Chiefs and Dolphins before ultimately deciding to sign with the Steelers, per Rapoport.
With the ink still drying on his new contract, Ingram explained his decision to sign with the Steelers during a phone interview with NFL reporter Josina Anderson. A nine-year veteran, Ingram praised the Steelers' organization and environment after spending the day at the team's facility.
"I definitely feel like it's the place for me," Ingram said. "I met with coach (Mike) Tomlin. You can tell he's very involved [and is] a players' coach. That's what stood out to me. He wants to win and that is what I am on. My role is my role. He just told me to come in and be me. Everyone knows how I play."
When healthy, Ingram is one of the NFL's most productive pass rushers. A Pro Bowler each season from 2017-19, Ingram tallied 43 sacks from 2015-19. He also forced 10 fumbles over that span along with recording 60 tackles for loss, six fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and 20 passes defensed.
Health is the biggest question facing the 32-year-old Ingram. Knee injuries limited Ingram to just seven games during his final season in Los Angles. The 2020 season marked the first time in his career that he failed to record a sack. But based on his visit with the Steelers, it is clear that coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert believe that Ingram can at least provide flashes of his prime years with the Chargers in Pittsburgh in 2021.
Ingram will be asked to contribute to what has been the league's top-ranked pass rush each season since 2017. Pittsburgh tallied a league-best 56 sacks in 2020, with 15 of those sacks coming from All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt. Defensive end Stephon Tuitt finished second on the team with 11 sacks, while outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who signed a lucrative long-term deal with the Titans this offseason, finished third on the Steelers with eight sacks despite missing the final five games of the regular season with a torn ACL.
Ingram will likely be used opposite Watt on the ride side of the Steelers' defense. There, Ingram will join forces with second-year pass rusher Alex Highsmith along with rookie Quincy Roche. Highsmith recorded two sacks and one interception as a rookie, while Roche tallied 30.5 sacks and 54 tackles for loss during his college career.