Jaguars won't exercise fifth-year option on Luke Joeckel

Joeckel's future with Jaguars up in the air (0:53)

Louis Riddick and Jeff Saturday examine the reasons why the Jaguars did not pick the fifth-year option on offensive tackle Luke Joeckel and what his future in Jacksonville looks like. (0:53)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars will not pick up the fifth-year option on left tackle Luke Joeckel, whom they drafted with the No. 2 pick in 2013, according to a league source.

Joeckel has been at best an average player, and the team signed former Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum in free agency and announced that the two would compete to start in 2016.

When the rookie wage scale was created in 2011, it mandated that all first-year players sign four-year deals, but it also included a clause that allows teams to extend the contract for one more season. Because Joeckel was the No. 2 overall pick in 2013, he would be paid the average of the 10 highest left tackle salaries from the previous year.

In 2015, for example, that number was $11.096 million. Joeckel is scheduled to earn $3.296 million in base salary in 2016, so if the Jaguars were to exercise the fifth-year option, Joeckel's 2017 salary would have been between $11 million and $12 million.

The deadline to pick up the option is 11:59 p.m. ET Monday.

The Jaguars can still try to negotiate a new contract with Joeckel before his contract expires, or they could let him become a free agent and then try to sign him to a second contract. They also could let him walk.

Joeckel has been a starter since the day he was drafted. He started the first four games of his rookie season at right tackle before moving to left tackle after the team traded Eugene Monroe. He suffered a season-ending fractured ankle in his first start at that spot.

Joeckel started every game in 2014 and 14 games in 2015, missing two with an ankle injury.

Pro Football Focus tagged Joeckel with allowing eight sacks in 2014, but he did play better in 2015. The team says he allowed seven sacks, including five in the season finale against Houston. He has struggled particularly against quicker rushers.

Beachum has started 39 games in four seasons with Pittsburgh, including 34 at left tackle over the past three seasons. Jaguars GM Caldwell specifically mentioned Beachum's athleticism and how well he works against speed rushers on the edge when asked what he likes about the former 2012 seventh-round draft pick.

Beachum is still rehabbing his knee and will be a limited participant during OTAs and minicamp, but Caldwell said he should be cleared to fully participate sometime early in training camp.

The Jaguars gave Beachum a one-year contract with a cap hit of $5.4 million in 2016, but the team also included a four-year option worth $35 million in base salary alone and approximately $10 million more in potential escalators.

However, Caldwell had said he expected Joeckel to handle the challenge.

"I think he's going to respond very favorably," Caldwell said in March. "I think it's great for him. To Luke's own admission, he likes that. He likes competition. A lot of credit to Kelvin, too. Here's a guy that's the No. 2 pick in the draft and has started a lot of games for us, and he [Beachum] is like, 'Well, I'm going to go in there and compete.' I told him, 'If you want to come in and compete for it, we'll give you every opportunity to compete for it.'

"He's got a lot of starting level experience, and he's played at a high level. I think, like we said at the end of the year, Luke still has a very high ceiling, too. I think the combination of the two of them is going to raise the level of play for both of them."