If the Seattle Seahawks plan to make a free agent splash and sign a starting-caliber left tackle, two notable names are set to hit the open market. Kelvin Beachum did not have his option picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars, so he won’t be seeing either a $13 million guaranteed salary or a second season with the team. Likewise for two-time All-Pro Ryan Clady, whose sole season with the New York Jets ended early, and they opted not to pick up his $10 million option for 2017.
Beachum was selected in the seventh round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2012 NFL Draft, and started five games in his rookie season. The 27-year-old became Pittsburgh’s full-time starting LT in 2014, and was given high marks by Pro Football Focus for his pass blocking. Beachum’s last season with Pittsburgh was cut short after he tore his ACL in October in a game against the Arizona Cardinals. His contract with Jacksonville was for one-year and $5 million, with a four-year, $40 million option. Pro Football Focus wasn’t kind to Beachum this past season, having faulted him for giving up 49 pressures. The folks at Big Cat Country hold a different view, however.
Beachum had a solid season coming back from an ACL tear in 2015 and entering the 2017 season improvement in his play should be expected wherever he plays. Fact of the matter is, the Jaguars created an unnecessary hole on their roster. They had a solid left tackle and now they have to spend unnecessary risk and resources trying to not only replace him but get better.
It should be noted that last year the Seahawks hosted Beachum (while Okung was off visiting potential suitors) before he ultimately chose the Jaguars.
As for Clady, injuries have been a major problem for him in recent seasons. He’d been one of the top left tackles in the NFL while with the Denver Broncos, earning All-Pro honors in 2009 and 2012, but missed almost all of the 2013 season — this was a good season for the Seattle Seahawks, you may recall — due to a Lisfranc injury to his left foot. He started in every game the following year, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately for Clady, he tore his ACL during OTAs, so he didn’t play a single snap in the 2015 season, which ended in a Super Bowl win for Denver. Clady was then traded to the Jets for a fifth-round pick, and Denver eventually replaced him with Russell Okung. After signing a one-year, $6 million deal with the aforementioned 2017 option, Clady tore his rotator cuff in September, and was placed on IR in November after trying to play through it.
It’s worth mentioning that Clady was drafted in 2008 to play in Mike Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, but Shanahan got tossed after Clady’s rookie season. Plans for Clady to play in Gary Kubiak’s ZBS were dashed when Clady had his ACL injury.
While Clady has the pedigree and numerous accolades for his high-level performance, his recent injury history is a major concern. He’ll be 31 in September, and has missed 37 of a possible 64 regular season games since 2013. Compare that with Beachum, who is three years younger and only has one notable injury in his career.
It’ll certainly be worth keeping tabs on Seahawks interest in either of these players. For my money, I’d rather they take another look at Beachum than chance Clady ever recapturing his peak form.
UPDATE: The Miami Dolphins have also released Branden Albert and will be moving Laremy Tunsil to left tackle. Albert, 32, was a Pro Bowler in 2015 but has missed 20 games in the last five seasons.