The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the biggest surprises of the 2021 season so far. They’re sitting at 3-4, heading into a Week 8 matchup against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. The team has underperformed based on the standard it set for itself over the past several years. Patrick Mahomes has struggled, but the Chiefs have much a bigger issue on their hands.
Kansas City has one of the league’s worst defenses and is in desperate need of an upgrade. They should make a deal for Steelers’ defensive end Melvin Ingram before the Nov. 2 trade deadline.
Melvin Ingram has fallen out of favor with the Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Melvin Ingram to a one-year deal in the offseason to bolster their defensive front. He spent the last nine seasons with the Chargers after they drafted him in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
After Bud Dupree signed with the Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh needed to add another impact edge-rusher to pair with T.J. Watt. Ingram seemed to be the perfect fit in the physical Steelers’ defense.
Ingram had a decent start to the 2021 season but has since seen his playing time decrease. The three-time Pro Bowler saw snaps counts of 54, 57, and 47 in the last first three games, respectively.
Ingram’s playing time has dipped significantly in the Steelers’ last three games. He was on the field for 35, 36, and 17 snaps in those three contests.
While it’s unclear why Ingram fell out of favor in Pittsburgh, it may have something to do with the emergence of 2020 third-round pick Alex Highsmith.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Ingram reportedly wants out of Pittsburgh. The Kansas City Chiefs could definitely use a player of his caliber.
The Pro Bowl defensive end can fix one of Kansas City’s biggest issues
The Chiefs have reportedly made an offer to the Steelers for Melvin Ingram, per Pro Football Talk. Pittsburgh may not want to trade a potential key contributor to another team in the middle of the AFC playoff race, but it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.
The Baltimore Ravens traded offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Chiefs before the 2021 season to help protect Patrick Mahomes. Pittsburgh might want to see what they can recoup in return for the disgruntled defensive end.
Kansas City has struggled mightily on defense in 2021, and this unit is legitimately keeping the team out of games. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense ranks in the bottom five of the NFL in scoring and yards allowed. This unit is giving up 404.5 yards and 29 points per game to opposing offenses.
Lack of talent is one of the most glaring issues with the Chiefs’ defense. Teams have picked Kansas City’s secondary apart. For that unit to play better, the guys up front need to generate a better pass rush. Chris Jones and Frank Clark are two defensive leaders on this team but have combined for only two sacks in seven games.
Even a 32-year-old Melvin Ingram should be able to step in and produce. If nothing else, he’ll provide depth which will be necessary because the Chiefs’ defense can’t seem to get off the field.
Patrick Mahomes is trying to make up for the Chiefs’ deficiencies
Kansas City’s defense is easily the biggest threat to the team’s Super Bowl aspirations. However, Patrick Mahomes has underperformed as well.
Mahomes’ 2,093 passing yards and 18 touchdowns don’t tell the entire story. He’s thrown nine interceptions and fumbled four times. Some of the turnovers have resulted from dropped passes, but others have been carelessness on the part of Mahomes.
The former MVP appears to be forcing things to overcome the deficiencies on the Chiefs’ roster. Mahomes believes Kansas City still has what it takes to compete for a Super Bowl, though. “I believe that we have the guys, we have the players, we have the coaches to do whatever we really want,” he said on The Rich Eisen Show.
Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will need to figure out how to turn this thing around. This offense features plenty of talent, led by Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. Even though they’ve underperformed, they’ve proven they can get it going.
Kansas City’s defense is far more concerning. If the Chiefs want to contend in 2021, it would be wise to make a move for Melvin Ingram.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference