The Steelers had already added a former Chargers Pro Bowler to bolster depth at a key position this summer, signing longtime guard Trai Turner to replace the departed David DeCastro. Now, nearly a month after Turner’s arrival, Pittsburgh has signed former Chargers pass rusher Melvin Ingram to a one-year contract, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The news comes one day after CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported that the Steelers were seeking help at pass rusher heading into training camp.
Ingram remained patient on the open market despite having received interest from the Chiefs and Dolphins, according to Rapoport. Ingram, who visited the Steelers on Monday, apparently liked his visit enough to spend the 2021 season in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh has added few pass rushers since losing former first-round pick Bud Dupree via free agency this offseason. With training camp around the corner, they recently expressed interest in Justin Houston, the 32-year-old former Chiefs and Colts starter who remains unsigned, per La Canfora.
The Steelers have arguably one of the NFL’s top edge rushers in two-time All-Pro T.J. Watt, who’s had three straight 13-sack seasons and is coming off a career-high 15 sacks. With Dupree gone, however, they’re set to rely on rookie Quincy Roche and reserves like Alex Highsmith and Cassius Marsh to take snaps opposite Watt.
Ingram represents an immediate upgrade at the outside linebacker spot. The former Chargers first-rounder is 32 and missed nine games in 2020 due to a knee injury, finishing without a single sack for the first time in his NFL career. When healthy, however, he’s long been one of the game’s steadiest pass rushers. A three-time Pro Bowler, he went five straight seasons with at least seven sacks from 2015-2019, twice hitting double digits and playing all 16 games four times during that span.
Other notable pass rushers still on the market include longtime Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, ex-Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin, former Browns and Giants starter Olivier Vernon and former Falcons first-rounder Vic Beasley.