LT Kelvin Beachum
The Chargers get more depth, and competition, at left tackle
Kelvin Beachum is due for a pay raise in 2020 after his quality blocking was on display with the Cardinals. That being said, it’s probably a pay raise from the $1 million he made last year to maybe $3-5 million.
A lot of the top guys in this free-agent class of tackles are older veterans. Trent Williams is the best of the group, but he’s likely re-signing with the Niners. That leaves Alejandro Villanueva and Russell Okung after him. Both will be 33 in 2020.
For me, it makes sense to pay more for the younger interior options while figuring out the tackle spot in the draft. With Rashawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw, Samuel Cosmi, and Alijah Vera-Tucker possibly available when the Chargers select at 13, overpaying for an older tackle doesn’t make sense.
That’s where someone like Beachum comes in. He’s an upgrade over Sam Tevi, but probably won’t cost much more. Beachum’s pass and run blocking grades on PFF were 17 and 18 points higher than Tevi’s respectively. While Tevi certainly improved in 2020, it wasn’t quite as drastic an improvement as some Chargers fans make it out to be.
If Beachum eventually gets beat out by a tackle that the Chargers select in the first three rounds, that’s perfectly fine. You still have him on a low cap hit contract where a backup role also makes sense. Beachum also has experience playing both left and right tackle at the NFL level that comes in clutch if Bryan Bulaga or any starting left tackle gets injured.
Re-signing Tevi is the alternative here, but Beachum has shown more serviceable tackle play for about the same price.