The Jacksonville Jaguars have some holes to fill this offseason, and they might have made another one by not picking up the option on Kelvin Beachum.
This is a bit of a surprise, mostly because the option would have locked Beachum up at a very reasonable price for a starting left tackle.
"Had the Jaguars exercised Beachum’s option, it would have triggered $18 million in guaranteed money – a $5 million option bonus, $7.5 million in salary this year and $5.5 million in 2018 salary."
To play devil’s advocate, Beachum objectively was not much better than average for most of the season. He actually finished as one of the worst offensive tackles in the league in Pro Football Focus’ grading system:
Beachum also didn’t play very well by traditional metrics (sacks and pressures):
"Per the Times-Union game charting, Beachum allowed a combined 27 sacks/pressures/hits, second-most on the team behind Parnell (28.5). Beachum was on the books for five sacks.In the run game, Beachum was responsible for 11 1/2 “bad” runs, plays that gained one or fewer yards, not including short-yardage plays that resulted in a first down or touchdown."
That being said, Beachum’s performance last year shouldn’t be judged in a vacuum. The former Steelers star was coming off a torn-ACL and clearly needed some time to get his strength back and get comfortable. He was noticeably more successful pass blocking than run blocking, and he definitely got better as the year went on.
In all, this is a bit of a curious move for the Jaguars to make. Unless there has been discussions with Beachum’s camp to try and figure out another deal before free-agency, the Jaguars are risking creating another hole at an important position. Even if Beachum plays like an average left tackle, that’s enough for this team to be successful.
Hopefully the Jaguars have a plan to sign Beachum to a contract before he hits the open market.