Whenever someone brings up Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum, the usual comments are made. "Smallest left tackle in the NFL." "Struggles in run blocking." "Not worth top 10 left tackle money." I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Nonetheless, here is Beachum entering his final year of his rookie contract, set to make roughly $1.5 Million dollars this season, and his future with the organization very much in the air.
Anyone who has followed the Steelers for any duration of time know the Rooneys don't negotiate new contracts during the season. They will complete a new deal in the hours leading up to kickoff, but once the season begins, the window has closed for players wanting a new deal.
Therefore, you have Beachum who has been arguably your most consistent offensive linemen, outside of Maurkice Pouncey, since he took over at left tackle looking for a new deal with only weeks to get the deal done. Despite his desire to remain with the Steelers, Beachum is mum on the contract talks, or lack thereof, between his representatives and the organization.
"I'll let the business people do the business stuff. I'm here to play football." Beachum told Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
In fact, when pressed about his contract, Beachum did mention something which needs improved, but it had nothing to do with money. "I'm just continuing to work on the basics, fundamentals and the things that are important," said Beachum. "Training camp is a place to better your skills, and that's what it's all about."
"I still have some flaws in my game, and it's the stuff I'll work on," he said. "There are some things I need to work on to be a better offensive lineman."
If Beachum is able to accomplish his goal, it would make the Steelers offensive line even better, but it also might put Beachum's price tag out of the Steelers' price range.
With reserve tackle Mike Adams due to miss nearly all of training camp and the preseason after having back surgery days before training camp began, the Steelers lost a significant amount of leverage in negotiating a contract with Beachum. The Steelers don't discuss contract negotiations publicly, but would be wise to try and get Beachum re-signed before the team boards a plane to Foxborough to play the New England Patriots in Week 1.
Left tackles who can do what Beachum does don't grow on trees, and if you look at the team's depth chart there isn't someone waiting in the wings to take Beachum's place either. Beachum is in for a dog fight this training camp, but it isn't for a starting position, but rather a new contract. Will his work pay off? Only time will tell, but the Steelers would be wise to head to the window before it is too late.