Melvin Ingram sitting out Chargers practice over salary and Joey Bosa supports him
The Chargers avoided a potential distraction when they re-signed one of their Pro Bowl defensive ends this month.
That move, however, led to another potential distraction regarding their other Pro Bowl defensive end.
Melvin Ingram attended the team’s second padded practice of training camp Tuesday in Costa Mesa but again did not participate in drills.
“We’ve talked a little bit and all I have to say is I’m going to support him,” said Joey Bosa, the Chargers’ other defensive star. “He’s going to make the best decision for him and his family. I have faith in him that he’s going to make the right decisions.”
Entering the final season of a four-year, $64-million contract he signed in June 2017, Ingram is now dissatisfied with his deal, particularly in light of the what Bosa just received.
On Aug. 1, Bosa signed a five-year, $135-million extension that made him the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player of all time.
The COVID-19 pandemic made the first day of Chargers training camp unusual, but no fans and no Philip Rivers took the weirdness to a new level.
The deal also continued the recent rapid acceleration of salaries for pass rushers around the NFL. Ingram’s $16-million annual average now ranks 14th among edge rushers, according to overthecap.com.
At 31, he can become an unrestricted free agent next year. The Chargers have several other pending big-name free agents, a situation that further clouds Ingram’s future with the team.
“At the end of the day, it is a business and he has to take care of himself,” Bosa said. “I think he would love to play with us. He wants to be out there. But he’s gotta handle business.”
With Ingram sitting out, Uchenna Nwosu moved into the starting lineup at the smaller defensive end spot in Gus Bradley’s scheme.
Nwosu, who is entering his third season, has appeared in all 32 games the last two years, with six starts. He was drafted in the second round in 2018 out of USC, mostly as an outside linebacker, but now is considered a full-time defensive end.
“We got our fingers crossed with him,” said Bradley, the defensive coordinator. “We need him to step the next step. I think it will happen just by him being locked into one position.”
Rookie linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. did not participate in much of practice for undisclosed reasons, instead watching from the sideline on one knee.
HBO docuseries “Hard Knocks” had already taken on a new challenge by highlighting two teams this season — the L.A. Chargers and L.A. Rams. Then came COVID-19.
Teams are not required to release injury information during the preseason, and Tuesday was not one of coach Anthony Lynn’s scheduled days to meet with the media.
Murray was the Chargers’ second first-round pick in April, taken with the 23rd overall selection. The 6-foot-2, 241-pound former Oklahoma Sooner has been impressive early on.
“He’s a big man,” Bradley said. “That’s what first jumps out at you. He’s been a surprise just in how fast he’s picking it up.”
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