In an early Friday morning post, we confabulated about which Pittsburgh Steelers player might be next to receive a contract extension prior to the start of the regular season now that defensive end Cameron Heyward has his new deal. Most of you would likely acquiesce that left tackle Kelvin Beachum stands a great chance of being that player. Should that wind up being the case, how much is he worth and what will a new contract for him look like?
I was fortunate enough to closely predict what Heyward’s new deal would look like and while the final numbers aren’t yet in, I do know that I am close on the guarantees as well as the structure. That deal, however, was very easy for me to put together thanks to defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Corey Liuget both signing news deals several weeks ago with their respective teams. If you understand how the Steelers structure deals, all you needed to do was slot Heyward once Jordan and Liuget signed. When it comes to predicting a new deal for Beachum, however, the slotting gets much tougher.
In recent posts, I have propounded that Beachum is a top-ten left tackle in the league and that I expect him to command a new money yearly average between $8-9 million. When you look at the current list of left tackle contracts, an $8.8 million new money yearly average sounds right for Beachum and would result in him being 10th on the list.
Now that I have established what I believe to be a fair new money yearly average for Beachum, we can work at developing a contract for him. Being as the SMU product is currently scheduled to earn $1.542 million in 2015, you can see that nearly all of a new deal will be new money. So, how about a six-year contract that totals out at $45.5 million? That’s $43.958 million in new money for Beachum that results in a new money yearly average of $8.7916 million a year. Following me?
So how about a structure for that new six-year, $45.5 million contract and what would the guarantees and cap numbers look like?
For starters, I would expect that deal to come with “true guarantees” between 25-27% of the total new money. If you use 26%, that would result in Beachum getting nearly $11.43 million at signing. Now, if he were to receive a $10 million signing bonus, that would mean the rest of the guaranteed money would likely come in the form of a 2015 base salary. Being as the minimum that Beachum can earn base wise in 2015 is $745,000, we will add another million onto that and that would result in him walking away from the dried ink with $11.745 million, which is 26.72% of the total new money.
Based on the above numbers, Beachum’s cap charge would be 3,756,474 in 2015, which is just $2.203 million more than it is was scheduled to be prior to him signing a new contract. When you consider that the Steelers likely freed up around $769,000 in cap space by signing Heyward to a new deal, you can see that Beachum’s first-year cap charge can easily be absorbed without moving the needle north too terribly much.
As far as the rest of Beachum’s contract structure goes, I have laid that out below in a table. I would expect a roster bonus to be included in 2016 as that’s a pretty standard thing for the Steelers to do. The base salary structure might not be exact in my example, but it should be somewhat close. As you can see, 2017 would be the peak year when it comes to Beachum’s cap charges and he would pocket a total of $26 million in the first three years of the contract. As long as restructures don’t take place, Beachum could realistically be cut with only a $4 million dead money charge resulting after the 2017 season should injuries or poor play warrant such a move.
I really believe that the deal I have laid out here for Beachum is good for both sides. He could, of course, gamble on himself if the Steelers don’t want to pay him more, but that’s quite a risk to take. Remember, he’s currently scheduled to make $1.542 million in 2015. Signing a new deal like I have laid it would result in him earning $11.745 million in 2015 and $15.245 million by March 2016.
Personally, I will be shocked if Beachum is not signed long-term by the start of the regular-season and if he does sign for less than I have in my projection, it should be considered one heck of a bargain.
Kelvin Beachum Contract Projection
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