Beasley, a 2015 first-round pick, is set to make $14.2 million in the final year of his deal in 2019. The Falcons were always expected to pick up Beasley's option after general manager Thomas Dimitroff confirmed as much in late February, but it took nearly two months before the team made the transaction official. After leading the league with 15.5 sacks in 2016, Beasley saw his total drop to five in 14 games in 2017, prompting the Falcons to move him from outside linebacker to defensive end this offseason.
Beasley is a 2015 first-round pick whose salary is guaranteed for injury only. The plan is for him to move back to defensive end in 2018, where he racked up 15.5 sacks during the 2016 season.
According to head coach Dan Quinn, Beasley will move back to defensive end full-time next season, Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "I have re-assessed it," Quinn said. "He played six games at linebacker and two injured. I'm going to put him full-time, all-the-time back at pass rusher. I thought it was best for the team even though some of his production would go down. His best role is doing what he does. He won't go back to linebacker."
Beasley saw a serious dip in production in 2017, following up his league-leading 15.5-sack performance in 2016 with a disappointing five sacks this past year. A return to the defensive line for Beasley could spell the end for Adrian Clayborn's run with the team, as the starting defensive end enters the free agent market this offseason.
Beasley recorded 29 tackles, five sacks, two pass breakups and one forced fumble over 14 games in 2017.
Beasley fell short of expectations in 2017 coming off a 15.5-sack performance in the season prior. Way short, in fact, as he graded out as Pro Football Focus' third-lowest-graded outside linebacker from a pass-rush standpoint. It's no coincidence that his production dipped simultaneously to that of the Falcons' offense -- which reached historic levels in 2016 -- as the Atlanta defense was much less frequently playing with a huge lead and Beasley consequently wasn't afforded as many pass-rush opportunities. In fact, the Falcons played the second-fewest third downs in 2017 (196) after having the 12th-most (213) the year before. If the Falcons offense, which averaged 33.8 points per game in 2016 compared to 22.2 this past season, can bounce back in even a modest way in 2018, Beasley's odds of doing so as well should be fairly high.
Beasley had five tackles and a sack in Sunday's 20-17 loss to the Panthers.
Beasley hasn't been as effective as he was last season, but he's starting to find his stride. He now has a sack in four of seven games this year, and he's tallied 11 tackles through his last three games. He'll have a tougher task in Week 10 against a Cowboys offensive line that has only allowed 10 sacks this season.
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