Could recent cuts Kelvin Beachum, Ryan Clady interest Giants at left tackle?

There was an interesting development on the Giants' potential free agent target front Wednesday night. What do Giants cuts mean for JPP? No, not Adrian Peterson's tweet.  Two veteran left tackles - Jacksonville's Kelvin Beachum and the Jets' Ryan...

Could recent cuts Kelvin Beachum, Ryan Clady interest Giants at left tackle?

There was an interesting development on the Giants' potential free agent target front Wednesday night.

What do Giants cuts mean for JPP?

No, not Adrian Peterson's tweet. 

Two veteran left tackles - Jacksonville's Kelvin Beachum and the Jets' Ryan Clady - hit the market when their respective teams declined to pick up their contract options, making them free agents and adding depth to what was a relatively limited free agent pool at the position. 

The Giants have a clear need at the tackle position, but how they will address the issue is unknown. They may be in business for a new left tackle, but they also may not be.

General manager Jerry Reese said the Giants would consider a position change for Ereck Flowers after the 2015 No. 9-overall pick struggled at left tackle for a second straight season, but he offered no suggestion which direction the team was leaning. He and head coach Ben McAdoo are expected to meet with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in two weeks, where they will be asked for an update. 

If the Giants decide to keep Flowers at left tackle, Beachum and Clady are unlikely to be fits - Reese would be shopping the solid right tackle market instead. If the Giants do opt to move Flowers, though, Beachum and Clady are obvious potential targets. 

Should Beachum interest the Giants? Clady? Both? Here's a quick look at the players and what they would (or wouldn't) bring to the Giants:

BEACHUM: Flowers' poor Pro Football Focus grades get brought up often, so the fact he finished the 2016 season with a higher PFF ranking than Beachum has to be noted. Some would argue, however, that Beachum, 27, would represent an upgrade due to the fact his pass protection marks were significant higher than Flowers. Beachum graded out 30 points higher in pass blocking, but his run blocking score was 40 points below Flowers', hence the ranking order. 

Kiper mock highlights Giants' OL challenge

Beachum, a 2012 seventh-round pick, had a strong 2014 season for the Steelers. He turned down a Pittsburgh extension before the 2015 season, and then tore his ACL. Jacksonville then signed him last offseason to a five-year deal with annual options, and the Jaguars decided to bail after a year (Beachum started 15 games in 2016). That's not a great recent track record. He was set to have a non-guaranteed $7.5 million base salary, plus a $1 million roster bonus, in 2017.

Beachum played on the right side earlier in his career, so the Giants would have some flexibility. The price has to be right with Beachum. Chances are he will command a multi-year deal, something the Giants may not be interested in. There are reasons to be intrigued - his age and relatively recent level of high production - but he's far from a surefire, plug-in left tackle. 

CLADY: The two-time All-Pro was released by the Jets to clear much-needed cap space. Clady was due a non-guaranteed base salary of $10 million, plus a $1 million roster bonus. The Jets acquired Clady from the Broncos last year in a trade, but it didn't work out. Clady played nine games (with eight starts) as D'Brickashaw Ferguson's replacement before going on injured reserve with a torn rotator cuff. There is a chance the Jets could look to bring Clady back at a reduced rate.

Injuries have been a major issue for Clady, who turns 31 in September. He has missed 30 total games since 2013, including 14 games in 2013 (foot fracture) and the entire 2015 season (ACL). Clady did start all 16 games and make the Pro Bowl in 2014. His PFF score in 2016 was also worse than Flowers.

If Clady did not have such an extensive injury history, he would make sense as a reasonably price veteran option. Then again, he wouldn't be reasonably priced without the injury history. If the Giants decide to add a left tackle and strike out on the top-end options (Bengals free agent Andrew Whitworth; Cleveland's Joe Thomas and San Francisco's Joe Staley in trades), Clady could be a worthwhile gamble. It would be a gamble, though, because his track record says he will break down at some point.

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James Kratch may be reached at jkratch@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesKratch. Find our Giants coverage on Facebook. 

   

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