(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
The Steelers added another weapon to their pass rush arsenal on Monday when they signed veteran outside linebacker Melvin Ingram to a one-year, $4 million deal. Ingram gives the Steelers a reliable option to fill in for T.J. Watt or Alex Highsmith if they need a break or if they were to suffer an injury.
“Both of them might be in there at the same time, and they probably will, because we’re going to rest T.J. some, too,” defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach Keith Butler said when asked if Highsmith or Ingram would be the starter on the right side. “We feel like we’ve got three good players there, so hopefully that will help us keep the same numbers with our pass rush in terms of sacks and stuff like that.”
Ingram, 32, has a strong resume as a three-time Pro Bowler, and he recorded 49 sacks in his nine seasons with the Chargers. A knee injury limited Ingram to just seven games last year, and he didn’t record a sack and had just 10 tackles. However, if Ingram can stay healthy and get back to his Pro Bowl ways, the Steelers will have received a steal.
"I am excited," T.J. Watt said about playing with Ingram. "I worked with him during the Pro Bowl and I used to watch Chargers games when Derek was playing in San Diego and Los Angeles. He's just a player that has a lot of burst off the line of scrimmage. He's got a phenomenal spin move and just seeing him in person, he is a colorful guy and I am excited to work with him."
The Steelers have led the league in sacks in each of the last four seasons and have recorded at least one sack in 73 consecutive regular-season games. Bud Dupree signed with the Titans in free agency, so the Steelers will certainly miss his presence, but everyone else up front is returning. And they've added Ingram also, which is a huge plus.
"I don’t think that," Cameron Heyward said when asked if the sack total will drop because of the loss of Dupree. "Bud’s been a hell of a guy for us, but we look at guys like Highsmith. We bring guys back like (Chris) Wormley, Tyson (Alualu), T.J., Tuitt, me, and we bring in a guy like Melvin Ingram, we’ve got a squad. I don’t think there will be a drop-off at all."