The Jets have signed free agent tackle Kelvin Beachum, the club announced. It’s reportedly a a three-year, $24MM deal with $12MM in guarantees. Beachum will receive a $4.5MM signing bonus, and earns the right to opt out of the final year of the contract if he makes the Pro Bowl in either 2017 or 2018.
Beachum will become New York’s new blindside protector, although it’s unclear as of yet who he’ll be protecting. Gang Green declined its option on incumbent left tackle Ryan Clady earlier this offseason, and although the club re-signed offensive lineman Ben Ijalana — who filled in on the left side for the majority of the 2016 campaign — he figures to slide to right tackle now that Beachum is under contract.
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. The Jaguars opted not to pick up the option, and subsequently traded for fellow left tackle Branden Albert.
Beachum, 27, was an elite left tackle in 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.
FOX Sports (Twitter link) first reported the signing. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) added the length of the deal and its basic financial details. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported (Twitter link) the signing bonus and opt-out provision. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.