The Jacksonville Jaguars signed left tackle Kelvin Beachum in free agency to a unique deal, a one-year deal with a four-year team option. It's the epitome of a "prove it" contract for both the player and the team, and as long as Beachum comes back to where he was prior to his ACL injury in October of 2015, it should be a great deal for both sides.
There has been a lot of questions about Beachum's status and where he's at with his knee, but he tells John Oehser of Jaguars.com that he's feeling great.
"The knee is great. It's amazing," Beachum told Oehser when asked about his recovery. "The staff here has done a phenomenal job of assessing where we're at, putting a solid plan together and allowing me to do what I do best - and that's execute and do the performance aspect to push myself. I'm feeling good about it. I'm feeling great. I'm ready to do what I do best and that's play left tackle."
While many believe that as long as Beachum is healthy, he's going to be the starting left tackle for the Jaguars this season (including myself), Beachum still has to get on the field and show his knee is fine and he's mentally ready to do what he needs to do on the knee. Incumbent starting left tackle Luke Joeckel is going to get a lot of reps at the left tackle spot until he's on the field, so he will have a bit of a leg up, that is unless he's just a disaster like he was in the final game of the season.
The good news is, Beachum states that he's ahead of schedule and getting ready to start cutting on the field.
"I've started doing pass sets. I've started to come out of my stance, pull - all the stuff you have to do on a football field," Beachum told Oehser. "I've started working on those functional things that are part of the football aspect of it, so I've already started putting deposits into that bank. You have to trust the knee, so I've put myself in positions where I have to trust the knee."
Physically, Beachum should be ready to go at some point in training camp, as offensive lineman do typically come back faster from ACL tears on to the playing field because they're more "static" than a lot of other positions. Beachum's point of trusting his knee is the big thing that will needed to be overcome, much more so than the physical part of his recovery. As we talked about with Sen'Derrick Marks' injury last season, it's the mental aspect that is needed for guys to really be "back" from the injury.
"I'm looking to play 19 games this year, and that comes with a first-round bye, so whatever is needed to get that done, that's what I'm here to do," Beachum said.
The left tackle spot will be an interesting one to watch in the preseason.