Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers would like to re-sign several of their own unrestricted free agent players prior to the start of the new league year, the reality of the matter is that a few of them will surely test free agency. This year’s list of Steelers free agent pool swimmers will likely include tackle Kelvin Beachum, guard Ramon Foster and cornerback Brandon Boykin. Recently, Pro Football Focus released their top 75 free agents for the offseason and it’s no surprise that those three Steelers players were included on it.
Beachum is the highest-ranked Steelers player on the list at No. 25 overall and here is what Matt Claassen wrote about him:
If not for his ACL injury last season, he may have been higher on this list. Beachum was one of the best pass protectors in 2014, allowing just 19 total pressures during the regular season.
It should be noted that Beachum is the No. 3 tackle on the list behind Cordy Glenn and Donald Penn. However, being as Glenn might be tagged by the Buffalo Bills in the coming weeks and combined with the fact that Penn will turn 32 this offseason, Beachum might very well be the most attractive free agent left tackle this year even though he’s coming off of a serious knee injury.
As for Foster, Claassen has him ranked 35th overall and 5th overall when it comes to guards. He writes:
Foster has consistently been an above-average pass protector, and he earned a career-high run-blocking grade in 2015.
Foster has indeed been very consistent throughout his career and this will likely be his last shot at a big deal. In other words, he would be foolish to not test free agency.
When it comes to Boykin, who was aquired via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles during training camp last year, Claassen has him ranked 58th overall on his list and 10th overall at the cornerback position.
Boykin wasn’t given much playing time early on in Pittsburgh, but once he was more involved, he continued to have success like he did in Philadelphia. Over the final five weeks of the regular season, he allowed a passer rating of 65.0 when targeted, and had the eighth-highest grade in coverage among cornerbacks.
While the Steelers will likely lose all three of the players listed above to other teams in the coming weeks, Foster probably has the best shot at returning. Needless to say, all three players should know where they will be playing in 2016 in less than a month from now.