4. Melvin Ingram’s veteran presence
Ingram is a leader on the defensive side of the ball. He’s the longest-tenured Charger on the defensive side of the ball and the team happens to have a young linebacker corps. While the team can turn to players like Casey Hayward, Derwin James, and Bosa for defensive quarterbacking at times, Ingram is a pivotal figure on the defense from a leadership standpoint as well.
It’s not just the defensive side of the ball either. Ingram is the longest-tenured Charger period. He’s served as a captain on the Chargers for four years in a row. That was never Gordon’s position in terms of leadership on the team.
That’s not to blame Gordon either, as leadership isn’t meant for everyone on a football team. But from the standpoint of influence and initiative when it came to other players, Ingram was always more vital.
Of course, this is also the first year that Philip Rivers won’t be on the Chargers. Rivers had been a captain for such a long time and was obviously one of the key leaders of the offense and franchise as a whole.
With his departure, it’s up to veteran Chargers like Ingram, Bosa, James, and Keenan Allen to make up for the gaping hole that does exist in leadership. This is especially true while Justin Herbert develops in his first few years with the team.
The Chargers shouldn’t make their decision on re-signing Ingram solely based on leadership as they obviously have to evaluate his play, but he does bring guidance and a presence that Gordon simply never did.