The Jacksonville Jaguars have made several moves this offseason to improve the roster and they aren’t satisfied as we work through the second and third waves of free agency. The Jaguars want to add competition and depth along the offensive line and they made a fairly interesting signing late Tuesday when they agreed to terms with former Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Kelvin Beachum.
This is a damning move in terms of what the team currently thinks about former number 2 overall draft pick Luke Joeckel, as it appears the competition for the starting left tackle spot is going to be a genuine one. If Beachum plays like he did in 2014, it really shouldn’t be much of a competition at all.
Beachum struggled with injuries in 2015, but he was one of the most consistent and reliable pass blocking left tackles in all of football in 2014. He’s played his entire career with a quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, whom Blake Bortles is most often compared to in terms of play style. Beachum is a sneaky good fit for more reasons than just being a good left tackle – he gives the Jaguars a legitimate option at left tackle if Joeckel doesn’t step up, allowing either him or the former top draft pick to serve as the swing tackle. This move keeps the Jaguars from having to exercise Joeckel’s fifth-year option right now and let’s the team evaluate the position without risking a hole there in 2017.
This won’t matter to the coaches, but it’s a bit of an eyebrow raiser to see Beachum getting paid just a sconce more than Joeckel:
According to ESPN Insider Adam Schefter, Beachum will make $4.5 million in 2016 but can push that number to $6 million with incentives. That’s more than Joeckel is scheduled to make this season: a guaranteed $3.296 million.
Hopefully Joeckel can finally put it all together this year and become a solid left tackle, but Beachum is right there to take over if he struggles at any point.