The Jacksonville Jaguars signed left tackle Kelvin Beachum in free agency to a one-year deal, with a four-year, $40 million option. It was a bit of a startling deal, because it's rare you see something like that, but it appears that the team and Beachum are gambling on Beachum regaining his form prior to his ACL tear in the beginning of October last season, and from the sounds of Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell, he's not concerned Beachum won't be ready.
"He's pretty far along. I would say at some point in time, early in training camp, he should be ready to go," Caldwell told reporters during the NFL's owners meetings in South Florida last week. "We'll see how he does through OTAs and once we get him in here and start training with him."
By the time the Jaguars training camp rolls around, Beachum will be about 9-to-10 months removed from an ACL tear, which should place him right in line to come back and be ready. While most ACL tears take about a full year for the player to come back physically and mentally, for an offensive lineman it can be a quicker process. Most of the issues with ACL tears come from skill position and explosion players, who have to mentally be ready to explode off their repaired knee. That's not so much an issue for an offensive lineman, and typically they come back quicker and without the same ill-effects.
Which is good for the Jaguars, but potentially bad news for incumbent starting left tackle Luke Joeckel, who many feel could be on the outs with the Beachum signing.
"Yes, he's got a lot of starting level experience and he's played at a high level," Caldwell said when asked if the Jaguars signed a starting lineman in Beachum. "I think, like we said at the end of the year, Luke still has a very high ceiling too. I think the combination of the two of them is going to raise the level of play for both of them."
The fact that Caldwell answered "yes" to the question of Beachum being signed as a starting lineman is interesting, because Beachum has been adamant that he does not want to play guard and it's unlikely he'd play right tackle with Jermey Parnell on the right side already. Reading between the lines, it sounds and feels as if it's Beachum's job to lose at left tackle.