Although the NFL Playoffs started today, you could never tell in and around Southwestern Pennsylvania. With the season over for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the playoffs seem to leave a hollow feeling inside for many fans, as their focus is now directly pointed toward the future.Ramon Foster. Why, one may ask; because he has arguably been the teams’ most consistent offensive linemen over the past two seasons.
Sure, guard Willie Colon, center Maurkice Pouncey or rookies David DeCastro and Mike Adams got more publicity than Foster does. However, his workman-like attitude and solid play at both guard positions make him more valuable in the interior of the offensive line than fellow unrestricted free agent Doug Legursky, who struggles when pushed to guard from his natural center position.
Even with projected starters Colon and DeCastro under contract, the Steelers could ill-afford allowing Foster to go. One look at the injury history of the starters will shed some light on to the reason. Colon is injury prone, playing roughly 14-games over the past three seasons and DeCastro missed the majority of his rookie campaign with a severe knee injury. With the 6-6 328-pound Foster in the fold, the team will have a starting caliber back up along the interior, with enough position flexibility to slide outside to right tackle.
With the Steelers having three offensive linemen coming up on unrestricted free agency in Foster, Legursky and veteran Max Starks, they will have to bring back at least one of those to provide some solid veteran depth. Foster, who has started 42-games in his career, would also appear to be the most valuable of the three when thinking about long-term considerations.
Last season, Foster was a restricted free agent who played for his $1.26 million tender. This year, he will have to work with general manager Kevin Colbert within the confines of the CBA to figure out market value on a long-term deal.
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