Steelers To-Do List: Keep Kelvin Beachum!


Kelvin Beachum has finally been getting respect. Since being a 7th round draft pick he’s made leaps of progress every season and now stands as one of the best offensive tackles in the league. He’s been getting respect all over.

What was once a roster filler, became a versatile back up, a surprisingly serviceable stop-gap starter, and now a legit starting offensive tackle, even a very good one. Kelvin Beachum’s hard work and skill has been reflected on the field and now in the media, but still, not in his contract.

Beachum has been getting praise all over recently. Bleacher Report ranked Beachum as the 8th best left tackle in the league. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports called Beachum the most underrated player in Pittsburgh. Prisco said, “He has made himself into a top-10 left tackle. The Steelers had a bunch of problems at times at that spot over the years, but he has put those fears to rest.”

They highest praise of all came from ProFootballFocus, who called Beachum one of their ‘Secret Superstars’ and ranked him the 8th best offensive lineman in the league, and the 67th overall best player. Of Beachum PFF said,

"67. Kelvin Beachum, LT, Pittsburgh Steelers (Unranked)The Steelers really stumbled into a franchise left tackle, right? Not many would have seen the seventh-round pick as the solution back in 2012, but he has proven that with his best year to date. He’s not a dominant run blocker, but you want your left tackle to slow edge rushers down and giving up just 24 quarterback disruptions all year shows Beachum is more than capable of that.Best Performance: Week 11, PIT @ TEN, +5.0Key Stat: Had the second-best pass blocking efficiency of all left tackles with a 97.8 score."

Here’s the problem though. The average salary for the top 10 highest paid offensive tackles, which should presumably include a near consensus top 10 tackle like Beachum, was just north of 10 million dollars. Beachum’s actual contract has him pulling in a mere 1.5 million. And it’s only that much because the Steelers prudently picked up on the 5th year option on his rookie contract.

His back up Mike Adams by comparison was paid more for years. Beachum will leap frog him this year. Beachum will be making less than half a million more than his back up and 8.5 million less than comparable players.

Beachum and Cam Heyward have been priorities in the minds of Steelers fans and media in terms of making sure they’re playing in the black and gold for several more years. It appears there are talk regarding Cam Heyward and moves are being made on that front.

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Mysteriously however, all’s quiet on the Beachum side. Beachum recently told NBC Sports, “I don’t know when the call is gonna come.” So apparently they have not even discussed the topic.

The Steelers are typically stressed in terms of salary cap. This year they are much less so thanks to a stingy offseason, some departures, and a little restructuring. So why not pay Beachum what he’s earned and keep him around?

After all, what are the other options? Certainly not Mike Adams any Steeler fan would think. Adams has been by any measure less than what they Steelers expected and frankly a flat out bust. There’s no other tackle on the roster with any experience outside of Gilbert, who already has a job.

Signing a player would be risk, drafting one even riskier. Big Ben has a few great years left, why waste them breaking in some new and lesser offensive tackle?

Well, because DeCastro and a few other big pieces are going to need contracts too. The Steelers are basically waiting to see how things develop. Although Beachum is a priority, DeCastro and Heyward are bigger priorities.

It’s not that they don’t want Beachum, it’s that they do, but just want DeCastro and Heyward more. Is that a choice they’ll have to make? They don’t know yet. And that is why there are delays.

There’s a risk to this delay though. If Beachum improves again this year, then he’ll be worth even more than he currently is. Even if he played the same as he played last year, particularly the last 2/3 of the season, then he’ll be asking for even more money.

So the Steelers are playing a dangerous game, but one they feel they have to play for the moment. I don’t suspect Beachum will be even in talks regarding his contract until Heyward finishes his. It’s an unfortunate and understandable situation. Hopefully when it ends we’ll be seeing Beachum in the Steelers uniform for years to come. But again, don’t expect it to end soon.

Next: Steelers fans need to vote for Antonio Brown

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