The Chargers entered their final week of organized team activities under a cloud of bad news.
Their top pick, wide receiver Mike Williams, wouldn’t be on the field with his new teammates until training camp at the earliest, a lower back problem making Chargers fans nervous about the team’s No. 7 overall pick.
But with their final week of formal training set to begin Tuesday with mandatory minicamp, there is now a significant boost.
Melvin Ingram, one of the team’s pass-rushing aces, agreed to a four-year deal with the team. Ingram is expected in San Diego on Monday to take a physical and sign the contract, clearing the way for his participation at minicamp.
“I wanted to see him here, like, yesterday,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said of Ingram last week. “But I understand these contracts, and sometimes they take time. But he will eventually be here on campus.”
The contract is worth $66 million with $42 million guaranteed, similar to the deal the New York Giants gave Jason Pierre-Paul earlier this offseason.
A former first-round pick, Ingram developed into one of the league’s top sack artists over the past two seasons. He followed up a 10.5-sack season in 2015 with 8.0 more last year to go with 60 tackles.
The Chargers placed the franchise tag on Ingram in late February, but negotiations between the edge rusher and the team stalled. Ingram hasn’t taken part in any of the team’s voluntary offseason activities, working out in Florida on his own instead.
He also released a mixtape of his rap music called “Franchise Tag.”
Ingram could’ve sat out training camp before signing the tag, which would’ve netted him a one-year deal worth $14.5 million, had a long-term agreement not been reached.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said in February that signing Ingram to a deal was at the top of the team’ to-do list this summer.
“We know Melvin was a priority with us this offseason … the position he plays, what he’s done for us — pass rushers are very important in this league,” Telesco said. “If we didn’t have Melvin Ingram, we’d have a pretty big hole as a pass rusher. It was important to get him back with us.”
The deal means the Chargers won’t enter camp for the second straight season with a high-profile contract situation looming. Last year, the team didn’t agree to a deal with first-round pick Joey Bosa until Aug. 29.
With Ingram’s deal set to be finalized Monday, the Chargers expect to see him lining up near Bosa once camp opens in Costa Mesa this July.