Last offseason, Jacksonville signed Beachum to a unique contract which included a $5MM option bonus for 2017-2020. The option, which would have fully guaranteed Beachum an additional $13MM in base salary, had to be exercised or declined 22 days prior to the start of the new league year, which meant the Jaguars had to make a decision by today.
Beachum, 27, was an elite left tackle during the 2014 with the Steelers, but an ACL injury during the 2015 campaign ended his season and torpedoed his free agent value. Like fellow injury-affected left tackle Russell Okung, Beachum agreed to an oddly-structured contract that fully guaranteed him only $1.5MM, but contained the aforementioned option bonus, option years, and $11MM in incentives and escalators.
Perhaps still recovering from his knee injury, Beachum struggled in 2016, grading as the league’s No. 63 tackle among 78 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus, the same organization that rated him as the NFL’s fifth-best OT in 2014. As such, it’s fair to wonder how much the ACL is/was still bothering Beachum, even though he was able to remain on the field for 15 games.
The Jaguars could attempt to re-sign Beachum at a lower price, but if they fail, the club will essentially have to start over at the left tackle position. The free agent market includes Andrew Whitworth, Riley Reiff, Ryan Clady, and not much else, while the draft doesn’t feature any prospects that would make sense at the top of the first round.
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