Free agent left tackle Kelvin Beachum isn't planning a position switch, telling the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he's not a guard. He's a tackle. Beachum playing guard became a talking point after 6-foot-9 project Alejandro Villanueva started the final 11 games in place of Beachum, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Villanueva isn't a finished project, but generally acquitted himself well. He has gobs of potential in those abnormally long arms.
The Steelers have many options, all of which involve Beachum, guard Ramon Foster (also a free agent) and Villanueva, who's under contract for next season.
There's not one bad option here. Offensive line was a strength in 2015 and still should be.
Re-sign Beachum and Foster: Foster played 1,000-plus snaps and was a key cog on a top-10 rushing offense that protected Ben Roethlisberger well. Beachum was part of that production before the injury. The Steelers made an offer to Beachum before the season, but both sides weren't close on a deal. Now, Beachum could take a one-year contract to re-establish his true value after the injury or wait for something longer and bigger. I'm guessing the latter. The Steelers could return Beachum to his starting role while letting Villanueva compete in camp to see what happens. Villanueva doesn't look like a guard, but the Steelers do like size inside.
Let Beachum walk, re-sign Foster: Villanueva has more to learn, but has shown he can handle himself as a starter. This would give the Steelers one more year to determine whether he's a long-term answer or a stopgap. Returning the same playoff lineup from last season isn't a bad play. Beachum would have a market elsewhere.
Let Foster walk, re-sign Beachum: This leaves Pittsburgh open at a guard spot assuming Beachum's not bluffing, but reserve lineman Cody Wallace has the capability to play guard in a pinch, or the Steelers could draft a guard in the first three rounds. Foster is 30 years old, so it's possible the Steelers want to get younger at this spot. And his value should be good -- not bank-breaking good, but enough to make the Steelers think twice.
Re-sign neither: This would create a starting lineup, from left to right, of Villanueva, Wallace (unless or until the team signs/drafts someone else), Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert. This would be the least desirable option. Letting two good linemen leave wouldn't be prudent.