The Indianapolis Colts are in the midst of a busy head coach search that has seen the number of candidates rise to more than a dozen. The new head coach will have to hit the ground running with free agency and the draft fast approaching.
“The Colts will likely focus their offseason efforts on acquiring a starting quarterback and addressing the left tackle position, so a veteran edge rusher to pair with a young group would be a smart move just as it was for the Dolphins in 2022,” wrote PFF’s Brad Spielberger.
“Former first-round pick Kwity Paye and 2021 second-round pick Dayo Odeyingbo have both improved over their first two seasons, and a consummate professional in Ingram can help them take the next step.”
What goes unsaid by Spielberger is the signing of Ingram would likely be the end of Yannick Ngakoue’s tenure with the Colts.
“Ingram has earned 75.0-plus pass-rush grades in four consecutive seasons, putting to rest any notion that he’s slowing down as he gets older, though you do want to deploy him in more of a rotational capacity around 500 snaps on the season going forward,” wrote Spielberger.
“Over the past two seasons, Ingram’s 15.9% pass rush win rate and 12.0% pressure rate are both top 50 marks at the position, and his 79.3 run defense grade ranks 10th. He’s prone to the occasional missed tackle, but letting him focus primarily on pinning his ears back on passing downs is the perfect way to get the most out of him down the homestretch of his great career.”
While Spielberger makes the case for him as a pass rusher, Ngakoue had 9.5 sacks last year for the Colts and has had eight or more sacks every year of his career.
Meanwhile Ngakoue has fallen woefully short in his run defense. He had a 43.7 grade from PFF in run defense last season compared to Ingram’s 65.9 last year.
Using Ingram in a rotation in his 12th season in the NFL would be wise, but his ability to set the edge and defend the run is the bigger need for the Colts.
Ingram signed a one-year $4-million contract with the Dolphins last season. A similar deal for the Colts in 2023 would be well worth the investment. A deal of that size wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of Ngakoue.