The Jets are still searching for a quarterback, but now they have someone who can protect his blindside.
Taking their first dip in this year's free-agent pool, the Jets signed former Jaguars left tackle Kelvin Beachum on Friday night. He figures to immediately become the starter on the left side, taking the place of the Ryan Clady/Ben Ijalana combo the Jets used last season.
The Jets also filled two other key vacancies on Friday night when they signed former Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who replaces the recently released Nick Folk, and they re-signed long-snapper Tanner Purdum.
Beachum (6 foot 3, 308 pounds) was the big get for the Jets. A former seventh-round pick of the Steelers, he was on his way to becoming one of the best left tackles in the NFL before he tore his ACL during the 2015 season. He proved his recovery, though, by starting 15 games at left tackle for the Jaguars last year.
The Jets actually looked into signing Beachum last spring before he took what was essentially a one-year, $5 million deal from the Jags.
The Beachum signing likely finalizes the Jets' offensive line for 2017. The Jets re-signed Ben Ijalana to a two-year, $11 million contract on Thursday, and he figures to be the starting right tackle. They gave a $2.746 million "second-round tender" to restricted free agent Wes Johnson, who'll be their starting center. Last month they re-signed right guard Brian Winters to a four-year, $29 million contract. And left guard James Carpenter returns for the third year of his four-year, $19 million deal.
Meanwhile, Catanzaro, 26, comes to the Jets off a shaky year in which he made only 21 of 28 field-goal attempts (albeit with a long of 60 yards) and just 43 of 47 extra points. Overall, he's hit on 84.8 percent of his attempts in his three-year career and set a Cardinals rookie record with 114 points in 2014.
Not coincidentally, Jets coach Todd Bowles was the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals that season.