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Report: Steelers and OT Kelvin Beachum have begun preliminary contract talks on new deal

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The Pittsburgh Steelers would like to extend Kelvin Beachum's contract to prevent their starting left tackle from hitting free agency after 2015. Reports are they have begun talks on doing just that.

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In terms of offseason players to re-sign, they would have been prioritized as follows: Ben Roethlisberger and Cameron Heyward followed by Kelvin Beachum. The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed the first two on that list to new contracts, and reports from ESPN's Jeremy Fowler state the Steelers and Beachum have begun preliminary contract talks for a new long-term deal.

Beachum is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and is going to make a dismal $1.5 million dollars in 2015, a small sum compared to other starting left tackles across the NFL. The Steelers have a long standing tradition of not negotiating contracts during the season, which puts a timeline on these contract negotiations.

Nonetheless, the Steelers and offensive line coach Mike Munchak think extremely highly of Beachum the person and player, and want him back for years to come.

"I appreciate working with him. He played really well," Munchak told Dale Lolley of the Washington Observer-Reporter. "I think people are starting to realize the role of the left tackle, how you have to have one of those you can leave out there."

"For me, I look at left tackles like a shutdown corner," Munchak said. "You have to be that kind of guy, have that kind of mentality. He (also) did a really nice job in the run game last year, which gets overlooked. He did a lot of good stuff."

"He's a guy who has a great work ethic. He's always trying different things. He knows he has to do some things because he's not the prototypical left tackle as we all know," said Munchak. "He's not 6-7, 335 or something like that, which is something people look for in left tackles. But you can't measure a guy's heart, his effort, his can-do."

"He had a great season last year. He knows there are going to be bumps along the way, which is the way it is for all offensive linemen, but I like where he's at this year. He's so much more confident. He's a confident guy, but you have to be at that position."

A glowing endorsement from one of the best offensive line coaches in the league, and a Hall of Famer himself. Munchak's opinion should carry a great deal of weight in terms of the Steelers' position in re-signing Beachum.