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The signing of Melvin Ingram gives the Miami Dolphins two edge rushers who used to play for the Kansas City Chiefs.
After bolstering the Chiefs defense down the stretch last year, Ingram now joins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, who led the Dolphins in sacks the last two years.
Ogban started four games for the Chiefs in 2019 before suffering a season-ending torn pectoral muscle.
And, of course, the Chiefs traded their Pro Bowl wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, to the Dolphins this offseason for Miami’s 2022 first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, a 2022 fourth-round pick, a 2023 fourth-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick.
The Chiefs had deftly prepared for the loss of Ingram. By placing an unrestricted free agent tender on him, the Chiefs were entitled to a compensatory pick if he signed with another team prior to July 22.
His Chiefs tender was an offer of $4.4 million (or 10% higher than his 2021 salary).
“It was an idea or concept we talked about,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said, “a week or two before the draft.”
Reportedly, the Chiefs likely will receive a sixth- or seventh-round pick for Ingram, whose contract terms with the Dolphins have not been released.
That pick should help them down the line, but they must replace Ingram’s contributions immediately.
Since Ingram’s first game with the Chiefs on Nov. 7 of last year, Kansas City won eight of nine regular-season games, and the defense went a stretch of five straight games allowing 14 or fewer points.
Adding Ingram allowed the Chiefs’ best defensive player, Chris Jones, to move from defensive end to his more natural position at defensive tackle.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo lauded Ingram’s ferocity, saying he played “angry.”
“I love it,” Spagnuolo said. “He just knocks people around, and I think that’s contagious.”
The player, who Travis Kelce called the “swag champ,” made the game-changing play in Week 18 against the Denver Broncos.
As Denver led 21-20 and had the ball inside the Chiefs’ 10-yard line in the fourth quarter, Ingram hit running back Melvin Gordon behind the line of scrimmage to force a fumble, which Nick Bolton returned 86 yards for a touchdown.
Ingram then had two sacks in the playoffs.
The burden of replacing Ingram will fall on high-motored rookie George Karlaftis, a player the Chiefs selected with the 30th overall pick — not the first-round pick they received in the Hill trade (and eventually traded away to move up to land Trent McDuffie).
An inability to generate a pass rush off the edge was a major issue last year for the Chiefs, who finished fourth worst in the NFL with 31 sacks in 2021.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins are building good depth on the edge, including Ogbah, Ingram and second-year Jaelan Phillips.
Phillips showed great promise as a rookie, recording 8.5 sacks. His presence likely will allow the 33-year-old Ingram to have more spot duty where he can remain fresh.
Ingram showed he could still bring it last year while providing great value for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs acquired him on Nov. 2 for just a sixth-round pick from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Steelers paid the majority of his one-year, $4 million deal for the 2021 season.
Ogbah was also a steal for the Dolphins.
They signed him away from the Chiefs with a modest, two-year, $15 million contract. Ogbah responded with back-to-back nine sack seasons and played so well that Miami rewarded him with a four-year $65.4 million contract extension on March 14, 2022.
Ogbah’s new teammates — Ingram and Hill — represent part of an aggressive offseason by the Dolphins as they try to make the playoffs, something the Chiefs have accomplished seven straight years.