Eight weeks from now Pittsburgh Steelers guard Ramon Foster is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and it sounds like this time around he’s very likely to at least explore his market instead of re-signing immediately with the team he’s played his entire NFL career for, like he did in 2016. Foster’s free agency plight will also be an interesting one to track with him now being 33 years old and thus one of the twenty-oldest offensive linemen in the league.
During an interview Tuesday night on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Alex Marvez and former Steelers tackle Max Starks, Foster was asked to explain his mindset going into free agency this time and especially with him now being well into his thirties.
“That is a huge factor in it,” Foster said of the age factor. “This time around, I’m definitely more open to this whole process. Pittsburgh has expressed that they want me back and stuff like that, but a lot goes into this decision. I love my guys. You know, we just recently lost Coach Munch [Mike Munchak], but they replaced them by putting Shaun Sarrett there. So, that’s just something I got to consider going into it and we’ll see what other teams offer also.”
Foster did, however, let it be known during the Tuesday night interview that he’s encouraged by how well a few other older offensive linemen have done around the league, recently, and especially Los Angeles Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth, who just tired 37 years old in December.
“And like you said, being a guy that’s in his thirties, it used to be an anomaly, you start pushing guys out like that, but we’ve seen guys as of recently, especially o-linemen, play into their thirties, late thirties, because at that position it’s all about consistency,” Foster said. “And I think for myself, just speaking, I’ve been probably one of the most consistent players at that position. But it all depends on, you know, the eye of the beholder. I feel good about this free agency, but we’ll see. It’s just one of those things of getting in shape, taking the trips that I need to and just showing my overall work and let my tape speak for itself a little bit.”
Foster is right when he refers to his play as being “consistent” and if you’ve heard me write or talk about him over the years, that’s the very word I have often used to describe him. One other thing playing in Foster’s favor as he enters free agency this offseason is that he was consistently on the field for the Steelers during the 2018 season to the tune of not missing a single offensive snap. That’s great timing for him considering he’s been known to miss a few games a season in previous years due to minor injuries.
After talking about his consistency, Foster was then reminded by Starks that teams such as the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos might be good fits for him during free agency because both now have offensive line coaches that used to be with the Steelers in Sean Kugler and Mike Munchak. I recently wrote about the possibilities of Foster being reunited with Munchak in Denver and quite honestly, the Cardinals might be an even better fit for the former undrafted free agent out of Tennessee should they decide against re-signing left guard Mike Iupati during the offseason.
It wasn’t surprising to hear Foster say that the Steelers have already expressed interest in re-signing him this offseason. At this point, whether or not Foster does wind up finishing his career right where it started in 2009 will likely depend on how close the Steelers best offer is to the best one the left guard gets from another team during free agency. My gut tells me that Foster will be back in Pittsburgh in 2019 but that we might not get confirmation of that happening until the first few weeks of free agency have taken place.