The New York Jets season is in the books after a bad 2019 season. Let’s start today’s ranking with No. 21, offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum.
New York Jets fans understand that this team may enter 2020 camp with an entirely new five-man O-line. But there are a handful of linemen currently on the roster worth retaining as solid depth pieces.
After D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s sudden retirement resulted in a 2016 season with journeyman Ben Ijalana at left tackle, general manager Mike Macagnan got questioned intensively for his 2017 three-years, $24 million pact for left tackle Kelvin Beachum, a behemoth with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars pedigree, one year removed from a devastating career-threatening knee surgery.
But the 30-year-old held up his end of the bargain over the past three seasons. In 2019, his run blocking and pass protection as Sam Darnold’s blindside protector proved far from stellar, and he did miss four crucial games with ankle issues.
Beachum got unfairly labeled as the poster child for New York Jets’ O-line dysfunction, with nine penalties and four sacks in 805 snaps, for a very pedestrian 67.1 PFF rating. But in fact, the line play far improved when the veteran was present.
Many of this offensive line’s issues likely had less to do with overall talent, and was more related to rigid schemes and poor communication; related to one-and-done line coach Frank Pollard’s trap style and Adam Gase’s play-calling.
NFL O-line depth cannot be understated. It’s all part of a winning gridiron culture. That’s why the 6-foot-3, 310 pounds SMU product should probably be retained as legit insurance, even if the New York Jets draft or sign his successor — which they certainly plan to do.
While Joe Douglas loves beefy hard-nosed pros like Beachum, don’t be surprised if the general manager just cuts bait and goes in a different direction. Especially if it means another $8 million annual contract for the Mexia, Texas native.