Kelvin Beachum is maybe the most intriguing free agent the Steelers have this offseason. He suffered a season-ending ACL tear in October. An offensive line that had already been missing All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey now had to start the unproven Alejandro Villanueva at left tackle.
The offensive line didn’t just manage to make do with the two backups, they excelled and were ranked as the eighth-best offensive line by Pro Football Focus.
Beachum should be recovered from the ACL surgery in time to be ready for the season opener but that certainly does put his value in question on the free agency market. Another team might not be willing to give a big contract to a player coming off such a major injury.
The Steelers offered Beachum a long-term contract last summer and the two sides could not come to terms on the numbers. You could argue that Beachum has less bargaining power this offseason because of his injury and how well Villanueva performed in his place.
Beachum talked to 93.7 The Fan’s Starkey and Mueller a few weeks ago about his decision to turn down a long-term offer by the Steelers last offseason.
"“No regrets at all. At the same time, I have to make sure that I can take care of my family and my legacy.” – Kelvin Beachum"
Beachum made his mark on the offensive line because of his versatility, eventually finding his niche at the left tackle position, protecting Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side. He told the Trib during the Super Bowl week that he was not interested in moving to another position on the line for the Steelers or anyone else.
He’s definitely able to play just about any position on the line but he already had his response ready for when a team asks him if he’s willing to move positions.
"“I am not going to say anything. I am just going to look at them like they are crazy. I have played left tackle my entire career, and I was thrust into all kinds of positions when I got here and I was a team player from that perspective, but I made my mark as a left tackle.” – Kelvin Beachum"
The Steelers are going to have to decide if Beachum’s value at left tackle is enough to overlook his unwillingness to play a different position if needed. Then again, if he’s signed with the team and a situation arises I can’t see him actually refusing to switch positions to help the team.
I’d say between Beachum and Foster the Steelers will likely try to offer a deal to Beachum first as Foster could likely garner much more interest on the market and therefore command a higher price. I think it would be beneficial to have them both back but something tells me it might not happen.
What do you think, Steeler Nation? Which offensive line free agents do you think the Steelers will re-sign?