One of the more important contract situations that has not received a great deal of media attention is that of Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum. The former seventh-round selection from SMU started all 16 games for Pittsburgh last season and graded out as the fifth-best tackle in the league, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). Beachum was particularly effective at pass-blocking, and it is no coincidence that Ben Roethlisberger and his arsenal of explosive weapons enjoyed an immensely successful 2014 campaign.
However, as Mark Kaboly of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes, the deadline for the Steelers and Beachum to come to a contract extension came and went last week, which means that Beachum will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in March. Beachum presents an interesting case, as he is the smallest starting left tackle in the league, but he has proven that he can be at least a capable starter, which is something that the Steelers have been seeking for a long time. Beachum understandably wants to be paid like one of the elite left tackles in the league, which would garner him a contract worth between $8MM and $13MM per year, but as Kaboly writes, “with the Steelers tight against the cap and Lawrence Timmons, Le’Veon Bell, Heath Miller and David DeCastro up for extensions next year, the Steelers simply can’t afford to pay Beachum market price.”
Now let’s take a look at some more links from the league’s north divisions:
- Although Johnny Manziel is getting the chance to start for the Browns today, Josh McCown will reclaim the job when healthy, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com (citing NFL.com colleague Ian Rapoport). Cleveland brass is pleased with the progress Manziel has made thus far, but the Browns continue to believe that McCown, who won the job in training camp, represents the best chance for them to win.
- Former NFL agent Joel Corry took a bit of a dig at the Browns this morning, tweeting that Cleveland appears to be a prime candidate to overpay for Bears WR Alshon Jeffery in free agency next offseason if Chicago does not put the franchise tag on Jeffery.
- Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, who is out for the season after tearing his ACL in the team’s Week 1 loss to Denver, is not even considering retirement. Suggs will begin rehabbing his injury shortly and fully intends to play in 2016.
- Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune examines recent comments made by Cardinals GM Steve Keim regarding how he was able to effect such a quick turnaround in Arizona–specifically Keim’s belief in building through the draft and using free agency for short-term relief–and wonders if it is a model the Bears can realistically follow.