Melvin Ingram signs with Miami Dolphins. Where will Kansas City Chiefs turn next?

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·2 min read
Jill Toyoshiba/jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com
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The Kansas City Chiefs missed out on one of their late offseason free-agent targets.

Defensive end Melvin Ingram, who helped revitalize KC’s defense last season following a midseason trade from Pittsburgh, signed with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon, according to the Miami Herald.

Based on their words and actions, the Chiefs were undoubtedly in pursuit of Ingram.

Earlier this month, they offered Ingram an unrestricted free-agent (UFA) tender, which made it so that if Ingram signed with another team before July 22 or the start of training camp, the Chiefs would be in line for a compensatory draft pick; because of that, the Chiefs are expected to receive a selection based on Sunday’s news.

On May 5, though, Kansas City general manager Brett Veach said he hoped using the UFA tender would keep communication open between Ingram’s representation and the Chiefs while envisioning a potential reunion.

“We don’t know where this is going to go. I can say that we would love to have him back, and it would make sense for us,” Veach said then. “But regardless, I think now it at least allows us a chance to have dialogue with them before they decide to do anything, if they decide to do something somewhere else.”

Whether Ingram leaving ends up as a net positive for KC remains to be seen, based on how the rest of the offseason plays out.

The Chiefs’ current roster still appears thinnest on the defensive line, so their interest in Ingram made sense. Frank Clark is back after restructuring his deal this offseason, while 2022 first-round draft pick George Karlaftis also projects to play plenty of snaps right away. Mike Danna returns too.

There still appears to be room for another body to solidify things, however, with the Chiefs still projecting to have the 10th-most salary cap space available according to the numbers at Overthecap.com. If KC still chooses to go the free-agent route, veterans like Jadeveon Clowney and former Chief Justin Houston are still available and could be considered as potential Ingram replacements.

Veach also could remain patient and look to the trade market over the next few months. Team situations change over time, and there might opportunities available later that aren’t present now.

Whatever happens, this appears to be another interesting domino for Veach and KC’s front office to maneuver during a busy offseason — one that most famously included the Chiefs trading star receiver Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins in March.

Ingram, 33, will be entering his 10th NFL season. In nine regular-season games for KC last season, he had 15 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble while ranking 13th for the season among all edge rushers based on Pro Football Focus’ grading system.