SAN DIEGO -- Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said that while he would be OK with edge rusher Melvin Ingram playing on the franchise tag this season, he preferred to get a long-term deal done.
Telesco achieved that goal this week, signing Ingram to a four-year, $62 million deal that included $42 million in guaranteed money.
Ingram took his physical Monday and will practice Tuesday, the first day of the team’s mandatory minicamp at Chargers Park.
“Both sides were motivated to get a deal done, and our hope was that we’d have Melvin here long-term,” Telesco said. “I think Melvin really wanted to be a Charger. His agent, Ari Nissim, did a really good job, worked well with Ed McGuire to get this thing done."
Telesco said the team’s mandatory minicamp did not serve as a deadline that drove negotiations. However, getting a deal done in time for the coaching staff to see Ingram on the field in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s scheme before the Chargers conclude offseason work is beneficial.
“We kind of closed a gap at the end of last week, and it came together over the weekend. It’s a deal that works well for both sides," Telesco said. "And the fact that Melvin can come in here and work this week is nice. I wouldn’t say that was a major emphasis that it had to be done beforehand, but at least this is out of the way and we can get ready to play football again.”
Early in free agency, two pass-rushers signed lucrative deals: Chandler Jones with the Arizona Cardinals (five years, $82.5 million; $51 million guaranteed) and Jason Pierre-Paul with the New York Giants (four years, $60 million; $40 million guaranteed). Telesco was asked if he used contracts like those to serve as a framework for deals in negotiations.
“Yes, but I’m not real big into breaking down the specifics of contracts and going through it,” Telesco said. “The deal’s done. We’ve got him ready to go and he’s here today [Monday] and he’ll be on the field tomorrow -- that’s a bigger thing.”
As far as scheme fit, Telesco said there are no concerns with Ingram moving to defensive end in Bradley’s 4-3 scheme, and the fact that the Chargers now have two polished pass-rushers in Ingram and second-year pro Joey Bosa (signed for the next three years) is a plus.
“We’ll take a pass-rusher wherever we can find them, whether we developed them here or acquired them from somewhere else,” Telesco said. “Having Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram along with Jerry Attaochu, those are three guys we think can affect the quarterback on the edges.
“It’s a premium in this league to find guys that can rush the passer. So it’s important. You need more than one, and you need more than two. So hopefully we’ve got three guys, and we’ve got some younger guys behind them that we think have some ability, too, to get after the quarterback on the perimeter. You can never have enough of them.”
Telesco was also asked if he has listened to any of Ingram’s mixtape he recently released, called "Franchise Tag."
“No, although I was a big Run DMC and LL Cool J guy growing up,” Telesco joked. “But I think it’s probably changed a little bit since then, I’m guessing.”