This year’s free-agent market is going to be short on high-end pass rushers.
Hours after the Cardinals and Giants applied the franchise tag to Chandler Jones and Jason Pierre-Paul, respectively, the Chargers did the same with their own star outside linebacker.
The Bolts placed the tag on Melvin Ingram, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday. The team later made the announcement.
The two sides have until July 15 to negotiate a multi-year contract. If no agreement is reached, Ingram will play under the linebacker tender worth roughly $14.129 million for 2017.
Once the Chargers studied the offseason landscape, with more than half of the NFL’s 32 teams hoarding at least $35 million in available cap space, they understood that Ingram was likely to draw a lucrative long-term contract worth more than $14 million annually.
Ranked No. 9 on Around The NFL’s list of the Top 101 free agents, Ingram is coming off a stellar 2016 season that featured eight sacks, 19 QB hits, 10 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and five passes defensed.
He joined 2016 Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack as the only players with at least 50 tackles and eight sacks in each of the last two seasons, per NFL Research.
Ingram and 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa headline a talented defense that should allow the Chargers to compete for a playoff spot in their first season back in Los Angeles since 1960.