Chargers reward pass rusher Melvin Ingram with big contract extension

The Los Angeles Chargers rewarded Melvin Ingram with a four-year contract extension. (AP)

Pass rushers don’t come cheaply, and yet the Los Angeles Chargers managed to sign their franchise player without surpassing some of the mega-deals seen at the position the past few seasons.

It’s unclear if Melvin Ingram fits into the discussion of elite pass rushers around the NFL, but he now has a contract that puts him just behind some of the top names in the league.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the news of Ingram signing a four-year deal worth $66 million total, with $42 million guaranteed. The Chargers later confirmed the news.

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The $42 million sounds like a lot, and it’s a shade more guaranteed money than the New York Giants gave Jason Pierre-Paul ($40 million guaranteed), but it’s a good bit less than the Arizona Cardinals gave Chandler Jones ($51 million), for instance. It’s right about on par with the deals being paid to Pierre-Paul and the Los Angeles RamsRobert Quinn, who will play a similar role to Ingram in Wade Phillips’ defense on the other side of town.

The Chargers placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Ingram in February, and they had until July 15 to work out a long-term deal. Getting this done now is good for both sides, even though the Chargers will be paying him more on a per-year average over the length of the deal than they would have had Ingram signed the one-year tender offer of about $14.55 million this season.

Ingram had been staying away from offseason workouts, and his teammates had expressed a desire for him to get paid, hoping he’d soon return to work. That’s guaranteed now with this monster contract extension.

The team believes Ingram — especially alongside Joey Bosa — could produce big numbers this season and beyond. Last season, Ingram had eight sacks, five passes defended and four forced fumbles and has started 39 consecutive games after earning a reputation of being injury-prone, overweight and inconsistent earlier in his career.

The Chargers’ defense has a chance to be very good this season, and Ingram could thrive in the “Leo” pass-rush role under new coordinator Gus Bradley. Some thought the Chargers might wait a bit to see how Ingram adapts to the new scheme before giving him a monster deal, but there’s a comfort level there now already.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!