It’s hard to walk away from 1st round draft picks. It’s hard to see such an important relationship run its course. But it happens. It happens to every NFL team, sooner or later. This is an inexact science, right? Sometimes a player develops into the guy you thought he’d be; and sometimes he doesn’t. It’s not the end of the world.
With those thoughts in mind, let’s talk about Vic Beasley. Oh, Vic.
Beasley had a decidedly mediocre 2019, notwithstanding his 9 sacks. His 36 total pressures ranked 52nd among edges and his pass rush grade (among qualifying edges) ranked 70th. His 24 QB hurries paled in comparison to, oh, I don’t know, Adrian Clayborn, who racked up 39. So when you ask me whether he’s replaceable, I have no choice but to answer with an emphatic “Yes!”
It’s fair to wonder whether Beasley’s second half is an anomaly. In fact, it’s a question we should ask, because it’s the conundrum that’s plagued his entire career. I’m talking about this: 20 of his 36 pressures came during the last 8 games. 7 of his 9 sacks came during the last 8 games. Much like any bad investment, we want to be sure that Beasley didn’t somehow figure it all out before we jump ship. But like any solid investment strategy, you can’t lose the forest for the trees.
Beasley’s 2019 was only marginally better than his 2018 and 2017. He hasn’t shown any consistent pass rushing chops since 2016. And again, we’re only having this conversation because he got his act together for a few games during the second half of 2019. He’s not the kind of guy you want to consistently rely on because he’s not a consistent producer.
The Falcons find themselves in a precarious financial situation headed into 2020. They’ve made a mess of multiple personnel groups, and they’ll need to somehow navigate the consequences of those shenanigans. But sinking a dollar more into Beasley would be foolish. It’s hard to know what his market will look like, and it may take a while to develop. Smart GMs will avoid him but somewhere there’s a team that’s desperate enough, and Vic will find a landing spot, sooner or later, as a result.