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Linebacker Melvin Ingram could intrigue Colts if he hits open market

The linebacker position was arguably the second-weakest part of the Indianapolis Colts outside of the defensive line in 2016. And with the impending free agency of Erik Walden and Trent Cole, retirement of Robert Mathis and unimpressive play of Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison last season, Indianapolis could have four new starters at linebacker next season. An argument could be made that Clayton Geathers was the team's best linebacker last season. And he's technically a safety.

Mike Wells: New Colts general manager Chris Ballard's preference is to develop his players through the draft and be selective when it comes to free agency.

But Melvin Ingram is the type of player the Colts could pursue on the free agent market. He’s only 27 years old (he turns 28 in April). Ingram has 18.5 sacks in the last two seasons, which ties him for the 12th most in that time period. He also played in a 3-4 defensive scheme with San Diego, I mean the Los Angeles Chargers. There are two other factors that could help the Colts with Ingram. New Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is switching to a 4-3 defense. The Chargers former defensive coordinator was Chuck Pagano’s brother John. So of course Chuck Pagano can pick the brain of his brother to get information on Ingram.

But there’s no guarantee that Ingram will be available on the free market next month. The Chargers have to decide if they’re going to use the franchise tag on Ingram. If they do use it, Ingram will remain with the team. If not, the Colts could find themselves in a bidding war for the linebacker. The Colts need all the help they can get when it comes to pass rushers. They were tied for 19th in sacks last season with just 33. Mathis, Cole and Walden accounted for 18 of those 33 sacks.