The San Diego Chargers chose former South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Melvin Ingram in round one of last year’s NFL Draft. Ingram was expected to start at one of the outside linebacker spots before he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear three months ago. Ingram has not ruled out the possibility of playing in 2013.
U-T San Diego beat writer Michael Gehlken tweeted yesterday that “As expected, Chargers place Melvin Ingram (torn ACL) on PUP. There remains hope he could return toward end of the season.”
After Ingram tore his ACL, Chargers GM Tom Telesco signed Dwight Freeney to a two-year deal worth $13.35 million. Freeney spent 11 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and led the league with 16 sacks in 2004. Freeney made the Pro Bowl from 2003-2005 and 2008-2011. Freeney suffered a high ankle sprain and played through it for most of last year, which is why his production was not very high.
San Diego’s front office believes that Freeney will have a bounce back season, and he is capable of being the pass rusher that San Diego needs at OLB.
I believe that San Diego should rest Ingram for this season because recovering from a torn ACL is usually about a 9-12 month battle. Ingram will have two years left on his contract after 2013, so there is not much incentive for him to come back this season.
San Diego has been unfortunate at OLB due to injuries to 2005 first-round pick Shawne Merriman and 2009 first-round pick Larry English. Merriman solidified one of the OLB spots before injuries ended his tenure, and he was claimed off waivers by the Buffalo Bills. English has battled injuries since joining San Diego four years ago.
Freeney will start alongside Jarret Johnson at OLB this season. Ingram could be the future at OLB, so the team should wait and bring him back at 100 percent heading into the 2014 season.