The Pittsburgh Steelers have done well in the past year to get themselves moving out of “salary cap hell” and they now have two players they strongly need to consider getting signed to long-term deals.
Cam Heyward’s deal has to be the priority. He has done nothing but get better each season and is really the leader of this defense now even at the age of 26 years old. I believe something gets done for him prior to the season beginning.
The real question mark is offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum. We’ve long been big fans of Beachum here at SCB because we love guys who work their tails off and do so humbly. Getting Beachum signed to an extension won’t be easy however and each side will have some validity to their respective arguments.
For Beachum, he and his agent will bring a truckload of evidence to support him getting a long-term deal that pays him as a top left tackle in the National Football League.
They’ll start with the fact that he’s been durable. He’s played in 38 of a possible 48 regular season games including 31 of the last 32. He also has started 33 of those 38 games he’s played. It won’t stop there though because Beachum will also argue that he’s been one of the more productive left tackles in the game.
Beachum’s agent will no doubt cite Pro Football Focus’ ranking of Beachum’s play left tackle. For the 2015 season, Beachum graded out as the second best left tackle in terms of pass blocking efficiency at 97.8. He also gave up just 24 quarterback disruptions.
I am and will always be the first to say you have to take PFF with a grain of salt because in my opinion nothing beats the eye test. With this in mind, PFF grades and stats can’t be totally dismissed either because they’ve proven how well they do their work.
If you’re waiting for a “but” in this situation then here it comes… At just a shade over 300 pounds, Beachum is among the lightest left tackles in football. He’s also a very average run blocker who works his tail off but sometimes is just too over-matched.
In a perfect world for the Steelers Front Office, Mike Adams would have become the dominant tackle many hoped he could be and Beachum would have been slid down to the left guard spot currently occupied by Ramon Foster. This would have accomplished two things; the first being that Beachum wouldn’t have to be paid like a left tackle and two, it would have allowed Foster to go back to being the number one reserve where he excels.
This is obviously the last go-around for Mike Adams who I doubt will ever be able to come a full-time starter. With little experience behind Beachum and even less overall talent, the Steelers hands may be tied.
Unless they have a master plan to bring in a free agent or draft a starter in the next draft, both of which are extremely dangerous gambles, it looks as though Kelvin Beachum has the upper hand for now.
Stats Courtesy profootballfocus.com