While the Pittsburgh Steelers’ options in free agency will be severely limited, Pro Football Focus believes they could bring back a familiar face along the offensive line.
PFF predicts the Steelers will sign Arizona Cardinals right tackle Kelvin Beachum to a one-year, $4.5 million deal.
Beachum began his career in Pittsburgh as a seventh-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft out of SMU. He spent four seasons in Pittsburgh, making 39 starts, 34 of which came at left tackle.
Upon leaving the Steelers, Beachum spent a single season with the Jacksonville Jaguars before a three-year stint with the New York Jets. He signed a one-year, veteran minimum contract with Arizona last offseason and started all 16 games at right tackle.
Ranked as the No. 76-overall free agent available this cycle, PFF points to Beachum’s consistency and prowess in pass protection.
“Beachum has been as consistent as it gets, grading between 67.0 and 70.0 in each of the past four seasons,” the PFF staff writes. “During that stretch, Beachum slots into the 82nd percentile in pass-blocking grade on true pass sets, ranking 19th among 107 qualifiers.”
While an accomplished pass blocker, Beachum has faltered in the run game. He has not graded above 60.0 as a run blocker in five years.
According to PFF, Beachum will “provide above-average pass blocking and below-average run blocking.”
It is no secret the Steelers will have departures along the offensive line and need support. Center Maurkice Pouncey retired late last week, and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva is not expected back next season.
Beachum is exactly the kind of affordable veteran the Steelers will pursue this offseason to bolster that unit, likely slotting him in to replace Villanueva on the left side.
In addition, he also already has a rapport with newly-hired Steelers offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, who coached Beachum in college. Beachum started all 52 games at left tackle in four seasons with the Mustangs, earning first-team Conference USA honors his junior season.
That familiarity, coupled with his performance and price tag, should give Steelers fans optimism about the idea of bringing Beachum back to town.