The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their 2018 regular season finale at home against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and they won’t be advancing to the playoffs unless they win or tie that game and then get some help from the Cleveland Browns, or somehow have the Sunday night game end in a tie. If indeed Sunday’s game against the Bengals is the final one of 2018 for the Steelers it could wind up being the final one that guard Ramon Foster plays in the Pittsburgh black and gold as well.
Foster, who has been with Steelers since originally signing with them as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee in 2009, is currently winding down the final year of his current contract with the team that he signed in 2016. Not only that, Foster will turn 33 years old in early January. While it’s likely that the Foster would like to re-sign with the Steelers during the offseason and that the Pittsburgh front office more than likely would like him to return for at least one more season, the middle ground as far as new contract years and money goes that would please both sides might be hard to reach.
The last time that Foster was set to become an unrestricted free agent was in 2016 and while it initially looked like the veteran offensive linemen would be allowed to test the market, the two sides finally came to an agreement on a three-year contract worth $9.6 million that included a $2.75 million signing bonus not long before the March new league year date arrived. Because of the low guaranteed money involved in that deal it was a very low-risk re-signing for the Steelers at the time and Foster has more than given them their money’s worth since.
While Foster would go on to miss a few games in both 2016 and 2017 due to minor injuries, as has been the case his entire NFL career, his play when he was on the field during those two seasons was not only above the line, but very consistent as well. This season not only has Foster’s play once again fit into both of those categories, he’s also yet to miss an offensive snap in the process. And this is the same Ramon Foster who suffered a seemingly serious knee injury during training camp that ultimately prevented him from playing a single snap during the preseason.
While the Steelers do seemingly have an adequate backup behind Foster in offensive lineman B.J. Finney, he’s only started just a handful of games at guard since arriving in 2015 as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State. Like Foster, Finney’s current contract is scheduled to be up come March and with him set to be a restricted free agent, the Steelers might need to issue him a second-round tender to retain his services for at least another season. Finney is also the team’s backup center behind starter Maurkice Pouncey and that further enhances his future value to the Steelers.
Foster is and has been an easy player to root for throughout his time in Pittsburgh as not only has he forever been viewed as a great leader in the Steelers locker room, but also seemingly always available to answer the tough media questions. He is also one of the few remaining players left on the Steelers roster that knows what it’s like to be part of team that’s gone to a Super Bowl.
In closing, it’s hard to imagine Foster not playing for the Steelers past this season but with that noted, if things don’t go the team’s way this coming Sunday, there’s a real chance that he might play his last snap for the team a few more days from now. Here’s to hoping that Foster has at least four more games yet to play this season for the Steelers past Sunday and even more beyond that.