Ingram is set to earn a $14 million base salary in 2020 before becoming a free agent. Popper noted that none of that money is guaranteed. Ingram also wouldn't immediately collect that money if the NFL halted the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Mulugheta, Ingram's agent, told Popper the three-time Pro Bowler isn't sitting out for the purpose of receiving more salary guarantees.
Head coach Anthony Lynn downplayed how much him not actively participating in practices impacts the team:
This appears to be the second successive offseason in which the Chargers are dealing with a contract dispute involving a prominent player.
Melvin Gordon's holdout lingered into the 2019 regular season.
Ingram can't exactly go the full holdout route because the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement raised the fines for players who decide to hold out. The 31-year-old would receive a $50,000 fine for each day of training camp he was absent.
Ingram is coming off another productive year. He finished 2019 with 48 total tackles, seven sacks and one interception.
He might be emboldened to get a new contract after Joey Bosa signed a five-year, $135 million extension. Bosa's average salary ($27 million) is nearly twice what Ingram is due to collect.
The Chargers didn't budge when it came to their impasse with Gordon, though. They called his bluff, and the veteran running back reported to the team without a new deal. Gordon subsequently signed with the Denver Broncos after becoming a free agent.
Bosa's extension was a pretty straightforward exercise. The 25-year-old is a foundational piece of Los Angeles' defense, and the team wasn't going to risk losing or alienating an elite pass-rusher entering his prime.
The front office may not place the same kind of priority on Ingram.