6 free agents who could help the Panthers pass-rush in 2021
By Luke Tucker
Melvin Ingram III
- 2020 team – Los Angeles Chargers
Once a first-round pick back in 2012, Melvin Ingram has played the best football of his career in the past six years. Since 2015, the Hamlet, North Carolina native has recorded 43 sacks and 60 tackles for loss while sharing reps with one of the league’s best in Joey Bosa.
Ingram’s stats are far from elite, but are good nonetheless.
While it could be concerning that he will turn 32 before training camp, the Carolina Panthers could be the perfect place to finish off his career.
Pairing the former South Carolina Gamecock with Brian Burns and Derrick Brown would create as impressive a front-four as there is, and he could theoretically be signed to a fairly team-friendly deal – something that could be huge in an offseason where the salary cap is limited.
After the Stephen Weatherly signing turned out to be a dud in 2020, one figures that the team will want a proven player and leader to mentor the team’s young group of pass rushers this time around.
Ingram has been a rock for the Los Angeles Chargers’ defense over the past nine seasons and has long been the leader of a unit that has produced the likes of Bosa, Derwin James, and a host of other talented players.
In addition, Ingram’s loyalty to his home state remains. He visited Carolina for the first time as a pro back in 2016, and had this to say via ESPN:
"“[North Carolina] what made me who I am. I have so many memories of being in North Carolina. I’m a North Carolinian to the day I die. That’s where I was raised, so it defines and informs the person I am now…it took me places I could never imagine.”"
What better place for the native North Carolinian to come to play than the place where it all began?