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NFL free agency 2020: Vic Beasley worth the money as a pass rusher?

Beasley can rush the passer, but he’s not an all-around defender

Jacksonville Jaguars v Atlanta Falcons
Vic Beasley sacks Gardner Minshew
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We already know that the Atlanta Falcons will move on from pass rushing EDGE defender Vic Beasley. Should Beasley be on the radar for the pass-rush needy New York Giants during free agency?

The basics

Age: 28 during 2020 season
Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 246
Position: Edge
Experience: 5 seasons
2019 stats: Games 16 (15 starts) | Snaps: 757 | Sacks: 8 | Quarterback hits: 12 | Tackles: 42
2019 base salary: $12,81 million | Cap hit: $12.81 million

Pro Football Focus: Overall grade: 48.9 | Run defense: 69.6 } Pass defense: 62.3 }

The skinny

Dave Choate of The Falcoholic says:

“Vic Beasley is still an enigma to Falcons fans, who have watched him play every Sunday for the past five seasons. If he went on to enjoy a great career and finish with more than 100 sacks for his career, I wouldn’t be stunned. If he was out of the league in 2022, I also would not be stunned.

Let’s start with the positives. Beasley is a great guy, the kind of player that’s easy to root for because of his work in the community and easygoing nature. He leads all 2015 draft picks in sacks, has incredible closing speed, and rarely lets a quarterback get away once he has his hands on him. He’s dabbled at both defensive end and linebacker and has, in limited opportunities, shown that he can be a capable player in coverage. He also won’t be 28 until July, has only missed two games in his career, and likely won’t command elite pass rusher money. If he’s a complementary guy and you have a creative defensive coordinator who can help him get clear lanes to the quarterback, he’ll be an asset for your team.

The problem is that he’s not the elite pass rusher his 2016 sack total would suggest, or anything close to it. In 2018 he was one of the worst defenders in the NFL per Pro Football Focus, and his problems with missing tackles, not making plays against the run, and not generating consistent pressure are legion and borderline legendary for Atlanta fans. In 2019 he once again had done nothing through eight games, which caused the Falcons to dangle him in trade talks (they didn’t find a single suitor) and finally spurred him into a productive second half. Beasley simply doesn’t have the pass rushing toolkit or play strength necessary to consistently win his matchups, and that plus his soft-spoken nature have led many to question his effort, even if I think those questions are ultimately unfair.

“If you’re adding Beasley, you’re likely doing so because his athleticism and flashes of electrifying ability are something you think you can build off of. Teams just need to understand that Beasley has never consistently been the kind of player his draft status would suggest, at least as a pure pass rushing defensive end, and it might take some creativity and a change of scenery to get more out of him.”

Valentine’s View: If it’s sacks you want Beasley can get them. If it’s good all-around defensive play you want from an EDGE defender, Beasley’s not your guy. He has missed 32 tackles in the past three seasons. His run defense is non-existent. Last season he graded 51st of 63 qualifying EDGE defenders in tackling efficiency. The year before he was last out of 69 graded EDGE defenders, missing one tackle for every two he made.

Spotrac estimates that Beasley could receive a three-year, $22 million contract on the open market. Me? I wouldn’t pay him a dime.