For better or worse, the Steelers traded Melvin Ingram to the Kansas City Chiefs rather than find him a more consistent role in the defense.
Tomlin continues to claim the Steelers want volunteers and not hostages. While that may be true, what if the volunteers on defense can’t tackle, while Ingram can?
Pittsburgh’s defense has struggled in recent weeks, in part due to injury and COVID outbreaks, and in part due to downright systematic flaws from defensive coordinator Keith Butler. Would the Steelers’ defense have been better off with Ingram?
“We didn’t weigh their circumstances, no. We weighed our circumstances,” Tomlin said. “Not only the tangible element of our circumstances, but the intangible quality that makes up team. Like I mentioned when we moved him, we had an opportunity to get value for him. And so that was entertaining and interesting to us. But also, to be quite honest with you and blunt, Melvin no longer wanted to be here. And for us, we prefer volunteers as opposed to hostages.”
Steelers gifted Chiefs Melvin Ingram for cheap
The Steelers got just a sixth-round pick in exchange for Ingram, so there was always some risk that he would make Pittsburgh look silly for doing so. Ingram wanted playing time over Alex Highsmith opposite of T.J. Watt. The Steelers liked what they have in Highsmith — in fact, they still do — but Ingram wasn’t content with being a depth piece.
So, he forced his way out of Pittsburgh to the Chiefs, a pass-rush needy team that employed him as a starter right away. In three starts with Kansas City, Ingram has 10 total tackles, three QB hits, a tackle for loss, and 1.0 sacks.
Tomlin remains confident in Kevin Colbert’s decision-making, even if that trade could come back to bite the Steelers as soon as this week.