Melvin Ingram is not happy with his contract situation with the LA Chargers.
Another year, another training camp, another player with the first name Melvin holding out on the LA Chargers. Last year it was Melvin Gordon, who ended up not playing the first four games, and this year, it is Melvin Ingram.
Ingram did not practice in the team’s first two practices of training camp but unlike Gordon, was present during the practices. Instead of participating, Ingram was on the sideline, watching his teammates and barking out advice.
It was unclear initially was the reasoning was behind Ingram not participating but according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic, Ingram indeed is frustrated with his contract situation. Ingram is a free agent after the 2020 season and is making $14 million this season.
As Popper outlined in his report (subscription required), this could have more to do with the guaranteed money on Ingram’s contract versus working out a new contract. None of Ingram’s $14 million is guaranteed, meaning that if the season halted because of COVID-19, the Chargers would not be required to pay Ingram out.
It makes sense for Ingram to either want some of that money upfront or to get it fully guaranteed. It is still not confirmed if that is what Ingram is frustrated with, but it definitely could be a factor. The truth is, right now, we are unclear.
What the LA Chargers should do with this Melvin Ingram situation
If that is truly what Ingram is dissatisfied with then the LA Chargers need to either pay Ingram some of the money upfront via a signing bonus or need to fully guarantee the money. The team is not going to add anyone else and while it might hurt the bottom line, Ingram deserves to be paid in full, even if the season is halted.
I get that injuries can happen and this essentially protects the team but the least the Chargers can do is guarantee the money that Ingram is set to make in 2020. I don’t care if there are no fans in attendance this season and no revenue source from that. You pay a loyal guy like Ingram 10 times out of 10.
Now, if he wants a new contract then that is where it gets dicey. Personally, I would not yet offer him a new deal and if he holds out then he holds out.
The truth of the matter is that Ingram is 31 years old and pass-rushers do not stay great for long in their 30s. It is unwise to commit multiple seasons to Ingram before even seeing him play in 2020. If he is still fantastic in 2020, sure, commit to another three years. Not before the season is even played.
Realistically, and this is a personal opinion, not a report, I think Ingram and Hunter Henry are essentially both playing for new contracts. Whoever plays better gets the new contract, the other walks.
Ingram is not going to hold out an entire season. It did not work for Gordon and it definitely is not going to work for a 31-year-old end, so the Chargers should call that bluff. Should they trade him? Not at all.
That will not change the contract situation and the team is not going to get much for Ingram. I know he is a talented player but I just cannot see any team trading more than a fourth-round (maybe late third) for a 31-year old end with a high salary cap hit and no more guaranteed years on his contract.
Guarantee his money in 2020 and if that is not what he wants then simply wait it out and keep Melvin Ingram on the roster. That is how the LA Chargers should approach this situation.