NY Jets: Will the Jets re-sign or decline Kelvin Beachum?

NY Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets have 21 players who remain unsigned and are set to be unrestricted free agents in the offseason. What will the team do with left tackle Kelvin Beachum?

The NY Jets will go into the upcoming offseason with a number of crucial decisions to make regarding expiring contracts. One of the more important decisions will be surrounding veteran left tackle Kelvin Beachum.

Beachum has spent the last three seasons holding down the left tackle position on the Jets offensive line. And while he’s never been an All-Pro, he’s served as a reliable starter and excellent locker room presence.

The SMU product first entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2012. He would spend the first four years of his career in Pittsburgh before signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars ahead of the 2016 season.

After one season in Jacksonville, Beachum was signed by the Jets to be stop-gap Ryan Clady‘s replacement. In his three years with the team, Beachum has missed just three games — all coming last season.

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Despite an overwhelmingly awful showing from the Jets offensive line in 2019, Beachum finished with a very respectable 67.1 Pro Football Focus grade which actually ranks above average at the position.

But will that be enough for the two sides to agree on an extension?

What is his market value?

It’s difficult to say what Kelvin Beachum’s value will be on the open market, but despite his age, expect the eight-year veteran to draw plenty of interest.

At 30-years-old (turning 31 in June), teams will likely be hesitant to give Beachum a long-term contract. But a smaller two-to-three-year deal seems most reasonable.

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As for average annual salary, the going rate for an average starting tackle seems to be right around $10 million per season which would place his 2020 cap hit at 23rd among all offensive tackles in the league.

That would place him in the top-36 percent of starting tackles in terms of 2020 salary which is pretty fair given his age and recent production. Remember, older veterans are more likely to have higher cap hits because their deals aren’t stretched out over multiple years.

Perhaps a fair estimate of his contract could be a slightly less expensive version of Joe Staley‘s two-year, $28 million deal he signed prior to last season.

Just ballparking here, but two-years, $18-24 million seems like a fair projection.

Should the Jets re-sign him?

Kelvin Beachum was the most consistent player on a very inconsistent Jets offensive line in 2019. Gang Green went 0-3 in games that Beachum missed meaning that the team actually had a winning record (7-6) in games that he played.

Some may view that as a coincidence, but it’s evident that his absence certainly had some effect on the final outcome.

Obviously, Beachum isn’t the long-term solution at the position. The Jets are looking to get younger and completely reshape their offensive line for the future.

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But that doesn’t mean that keeping around Beachum for at least another year or two is counterproductive.

The Texas native played well last season and is arguably the only proven commodity on the Jets offensive line right now. It’s unrealistic to expect the team to replace four starting offensive linemen in one offseason — assuming Chuma Edoga is a starter next year.

For that reason, it might make sense to bring back Beachum provided they upgrade the other positions in the draft. Re-signing Beachum only works if you have a long-term plan in place.

Bring him back as a dependable stop-gap or don’t bring him back at all.

Will the Jets re-sign him?

Whether or not the Jets re-sign Kelvin Beachum will determine a lot of what the team’s ultimate plan is this offseason.

If they bring him back, they won’t add another tackle in free agency and will instead look to upgrade the interior offensive line there. If they let him walk, perhaps a player like Jack Conklin or Anthony Castonzo could be in their sights.

At this point, it’s tough to say what general manager Joe Douglas’ intentions are.

But all signs do seem to point to the team targeting New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney in free agency with multiple outlets indicating that he’s their top target. If that’s the case, Beachum’s days in New York might be numbered.

With the Jets wanting to bring back Alex Lewis as well, paying three offensive linemen would make little sense — especially if the plan is to draft one in the first round.

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As of now, it seems like it could go either way, but I lean a little more towards the side of him not returning.

Odds of re-signing: 40%